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Civil War 

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CARL!: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois 


Civil War Battlefield Medicine 

CADUCEUS Volume X ■ Number 1 ■ SPRING 1994 
A Humanities Journal for Medicine and the Health Sciences 

Published by the Department of Medical Humanities 
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine 


John S. Haller, Jr.. Editor 
Phillip V. Davis. Deputy Editor 
Mary Ellen McElligott, Managing Editor 
lean L. Kirchner, Editorial Researcher 

Department of Medical Humanities 

Theodore R. LeiMang. Chair 
M. Lynne Cleverdon, Assistant to the Chair 
Barbara Mason, Curator, ne Pearson Museum 
Carol Faingold, Subscription Manager 

Board of Advisors 

James T. H. Connor 

Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine 

Glen W. Da\idson 
Doane College 

M. Patricia Donahue 
College of Nursing 
l'ni\ersirs' of Iowa 

James Edmonson 

Cleveland Health Sciences Library 

Christopher Hoolihan 
Edward G. Miner Library 
l"ni\ersit\' of Rochester 

Joel Howell 

Department of Internal Medicine 

l.'ni\'ersity of Michigan 

Ramunas Kondratas 
National Musetim of American 

Adrianne Noe 

National Museum of I lealth aiul 

Gretchen Worden 
Mutter Museum 

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Copyright 199 a Hie Board of Tnistees of Southern Illinois L'ni\'ersit\-, ISSN No. 0882-7447 



2 The National Museum of Ci\il War Medicine: 
Building a Vision 
by John E. Olson 


8 l-ield Medicine at Antietam 
by James 0. Breeden 




Jonathan A. l.etlernian, Sui;geon tor the Soldiers 
by Gordon E. Dammann 

Be\erly Barrett; A Ci\ilian Doctor 
in the (a\ il War 
by Thomas P. Sweeney 

49 The Grand Army of the Republic 
Memorial Museum 
by Jean Lightowler Kirchner 

* ■ 1- 



52 News 

54 Picture Credits 

"Island of Mercy " by Keith Rocco depicts the Second Corps hospital at Pry Mill by 
the Upper Bridge at Antietam. The artwork was commissioned by Dr. Gordon 
Dammann. Limited-edition prints of the four-color painting are available from the 
National Museum of Civil War Medicine. 

The National Museum of Civil War 
Medicine: Building a Vision 

I am pleased to introduce readers of 
(kulucetisUi three of tlie papers pre- 
senleil at the First Anntial Cx)nferenceon 
Civil War Medicine, iield at Antietam in 
April of 1993. The conference is one of 
several activities supported by the re- 
cently incorporated National Museum of 
Civil War Medicine. 


when the subject of ~C\\\\ War medi- 
cine" is mentioned, reactions can \ar\ 
from wincing, to moans, to such ques- 
tions as "Isn't that an oxymoron?" Ci\il 
War medicine is a topic tliat people 
kno%v very little about. Too often, even 
the most motivated student can onl\' 
read about the great battles, manel at 
the tremendous casualty Hgures, and 
then move on to the next contest. 

As an example, consider Stephen 
Sears's ne IjDic/scape Tiinwtl Reel, a 
fine stoiy of the Battle of .Antielam con- 
taining about 3-4^ pages of text. Antietam 
was the site of America's single blootliest 
day. Nearly 23,(K)() casualties littered the 
battlefield in its aftermath, ^'et hov*- 
many pages of Sears's book are de\'oted 
to Civil War medicine? The an.swer is 
three, nearh' half of which co\er Clara 

Barton's role at the baltleheld. Dr. Jona- 
than Lelterman, Medical Director of the 
Army of the Potomac, is ne\er men- 
tioned. After reading Dr. Gordon 
Dammann's paper on Letterman and 
considering the advances in the ambu- 
lance corps, field hospitals, and medical 
supply that he implemented at Antietam, 
one nurst ask how a person of 
Letteriiian's stature could be lelt out of 
any account of that battle. 

Stories of the Civil War 

The National .Museum of Cj\i1 War 
Medicine will tell the story of the men 
and women who pnnided medical care 
to both I'nion and (x)nfederate soldiers 
during the War between the States. 
Through its collections and exhibits, the 
museum will show the (.leclication and 
in\'enti\'eness of physicians, the devo- 
tion of stewards, the sacrifices of nurses 
atul matrons, and the courage of patients 
on both sides of the struggle. 

More than (lOO.OOO soldiers died dur- 
ing the Ci\il War — approximateb' 
400,000 from di.sease imd 200,000 killed 
in battle. .Mthough disease claimed more 
victims than bullets by a 2:1 margin, that 
was a tiramalic improvement owr the 

by John E. Olson 


These stereoscopic views 
of the Evangelical 
Lutheran Church in 
Frederick were taken in 
the fall of 1862, when 
about 5,000 Union soldiers 
were hospitalized in 
Frederick during the battle 
at Antietam. The 
photograph at left shows 
how the planking set atop 
the pews created a 
temporary floor for 
hospital beds and 
patients. The church still 
stands and is in active use. 

Crimean War. Among the major innova- 
tions in medicine that occurred during 
the Civil War were: 

• Creation of the ambulance corps 

• Widespread use of anesthesia 

• Field and fLxed-bed hospitals 

• Improved sanitation 

• Reconstructive surgery 

• Advances of women in nursing and 
hospital administration 

Surgeons in the Civil War were con- 
fronted with horrific casualties as 
Napoleonic tactics collided with the ri- 
fled barrel and other rapidly changing 
technology. At Gettysburg, the 154th 
New York Infantry took 239 men into 
battle and suffered losses to 200 — 84 
percent of the regiment. Likewise, the 

8th Virginia Infantry lost 92 percent of its 
men in the "grand assault" known as 
Pickett's Charge.' 

Regimental surgeons were not strang- 
ers to the men they treated. They were 
from the same community and were 
often long-standing friends. Captain Ed- 
ward A. Acton, 5th New Jersey Infantry, 
for example, was wounded by a Confed- 
erate sharpshooter during the battle of 
Second Bull Run. Assistant Surgeon of 
the 5th New Jersey, O. S. Beldon, treated 
Captain Acton and told him that he was 
shot through the bowels and would not 
live. At Acton's request. Surgeon Beldon 
later wrote to Acton's wife Mary, repeat- 
ing his love to his father, mother, wife, 
and children. Acton's dying words were 
"What will my dear children do without 
me?" Several months later, in January' of 

SPRING 1994 

1S63, SLUgcon Hcltlon, Aelon's lallicr 
Isaac, and anotlicr friend vvoLild ltdss 
enemy lines in seairli of Acton's body. 
They loum.! his iiurial site on the Ixittle- 
fieid and returned him home to Salem, 
New jersey.- That is just one of tlie sel- 
dom-told stories of medital care 
pro\ itiers in the ("i\il War. 

The National Museum of Civil War 

I'he National .\lu.s(.'um of Ci\il War 
Metlicine is a prisate. non-profit corpo- 
ration recognized hy thi.' IRS as a 
ciiaritahle organization, ()iir foLinder 
anti BoartI ("hairinan is Dr. (iordon 
Dammann cjf Lena, Illinois, .luthor ol 
TIk' Pictorial Ell cycl(>/)cclia ofCiril War 
Medical liistruniciils and lujiiipment. As 
one of the foremost authorities on Civil 

War medicine, I)r, I ).iiiiiii,inn luis 
ama,ssed a personal collection o( more 
than three thousand 1,'niorT aitifacts That 
impressive collecti( in \\ ill he the nin leus 
of the National Mu,seLim of Ci\il War 
Medicine. Board members Dr, T. Adrian 
Wheat and Dr I". Terry 1 himbrechi, both 
noted authorities (jn ConfcLlerate mcLli- 
cine, have also donated important 

The museum has attracted prominent 
historians and public officials to its Na- 
tional Ad\isor\' Board, inckuling 
MarylantI (iovernor William Donald 
Schaefcr; I'd Bearss, Chief Histc^rian of 
the National Park Service; lames 
Breeden, professor of histon,' at South- 
ern Methodist Unix'ersity, Shelby Foote, 
noted author and historian featuretl on 
the PBS series "The Civil War"; James 


McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning his- 
torian of Princeton University; and James 
Robertson, professor of history at Vir- 
ginia Polytechnic Institute. 

The National Museum of Civil War 
Medicine will be housed in Frederick, 
Maryland, in a three-story, 22,000- 
square-foot building located in the city's 
historic district — 48 E. Patrick Street. 

Historic Frederick 

Frederick offers a strategic location for 
the museum. It is centrally positioned 
within a thirty-minute drive to five major 
Civil War battlefields: Gettysburg, Antie- 
tam, South Mountain, Harper's Ferry, 
and Monocacy. Gettysburg battlefield 
draws nearly two million visitors annu- 
ally, many of whom drive through 
Frederick en route to other destination 
points in Washington, D.C., and Balti- 

That close proximity to battlefields 
caused Frederick to become the major 
hospital center during the Civil War. 
More than twenty Civil War hospital sites 
have been identified to date in Freder- 
ick, most of which are still standing. 
During the war, Frederick's populatit^n 
of about eight thousand sustained an 
influx of wounded of nearly the same 
number. In the wake of the battle of 
Antietam, nearly six thousand wounded 
were brought to Frederick. On Septem- 
ber 23, 1862, Jacob Engelbrecht would 
record in his diary: "Town in Commo- 
tion — our little City is all day long and 
part of the night one continued bustle of 
moving Wagons. Ambulances bringing 
wounded, medical and hospital 
stores. . . . Some days about SOO to 1 ,000 
wagons pass our street." Engelbrecht 

would later add, "If you would take a 
walk through the town, any handsome 
day you might meet 80 to 100 wounded 

Designing a New Facility 

The architectural firm of Grieves, 
Worrall, Wright & O'Hatnick (GWWO) 
has been chosen to design the museum. 
CWWO has extensive museum experi- 
ence, having worked on the Brandywine 
Museum and the Walters Art Gallery, to 
name a few. Conceptual plans have 
been developed, and artists' renderings 
and structural and mechanical evalua- 
tions are complete. GWWO has done a 
superb job in working with an 1840s 
building to provide a modern facility in 
a historic, period building. 

As Executive Director, the museum 
has retained Burton K. Kummerow, who 
brings nearly thirty years of museum and 
historical interpretation experience to 
the National Museum of Civil War Medi- 
cine. Kummerow was most recently 
Executive Director of Historic St. Mary's 
City, the original capital of Maryland 
founded in the sixteenth century. 

Exhibit themes and design plans are 
underway. Dr. Dammann will be provid- 
ing the only known surviving Civil War 
surgeon's tent — that of John Wiley, 6th 
New Jersey Infantry. Surgeon Wiley's 
tent and personal effects will eventually 
be featured in a unique field hospital 

The museum will be conducting 
major fundraising efforts toward the goal 
of SS, 000, 000 required for renovating 
the Patrick Street building and develop- 
ing exhibits. Support from the state and 
local level has been tremendous. The 

SPRING 1994 

museum lias a\x-i\ eel a matching grant 
from the State of Maryhmtl for 
$1,000,000, and f'reclenek Caly and f'red- 
erick County haw made grants loialing 

Tlie mirseum will k mtiniie to sponsor 
an annual conferenee on Ci\il War med- 
ieine. Our IWS symposium will he held 
the hrst weekend in Aiigirsi. in I'reder- 
ick, Maryland. In addition to tine 
.scholarship, the weekend w ill include a 
tour of Gettysburg h.illleliekl And hospi- 
tal sites, led by Gordon Dammann. 

Additional information about ihe 1995 
conference, museum memberships, and 
(Hher aspects of our programs is a\ail- 
able from the National Museum of Civil 
War Medicine, P.O. Box 470, Frederick, 
MD 21705-0-470 or by calling (301) 695- 

John E. Olson is immediate past 
president and a founding board 
member of the National Museum of 
Civil War Medicine. He is the author of 
The 21 St Virginia Cavalry, which is part 
of the Virginia Regimental History 
series, and contributor to The 
Encyclopedia of the Confederacy. A 
native of Washington, D.C., he is 
controller for Willard Agri-Service of 
Frederick and related companies. 





1 jolm W. Busey and David G. .Martin, 
Re^mwulal Strengths ami Losses at Gettys- 
burg (Hightstown, N.j.: Long.street House, 
19S6). 262, 29S. 

2. (). S. Beklon lo ,\laiy Acton. Oct. 28, 
l.S(i2, National .Museum of Ci\il War .Medi- 
cine; the letter was donated by Oak .^cton, 
S.ileni, N.J. 

3. I^iul Gordon .ind Rit.i Gordon. .1 Play- 
groiiiicl of Ihe Civil War: J'reclerick County. 
Maiylaiicl (Frederick: The Gordons. 199-t), 
2^"", 260. The Engelbrecht diaries ha\e been 
reprinted by the Frctlerick County Historical 

Architect's rendering of 
the Carty Building, home 
of the National Museum of 
Civil War Medicine 

Field Medicine at Antietam 


■•i ft> 



The Battle of Antietam, Septem- 
ber 17, 1862, wa.s the .site of the 
deadliest day of the Civil War. On 
that tragic day, a force of 75,000 
Union soldiers under George B. Mc- 
Clellan attempted to caish 51,000 
Confederates led by Robert E. Lee. 
From first light until dusk, the rival 
armies sa\'agely confronted each 
other o\er a Norman Rockwell 
Mar\'land countr^'side around the 
sleepy village of Sharpsburg and 
along Antietam Creek. Casualties 
numbered 23,000 (12,410 
Union, 10,316 Confederate). 
Roughly one in every- four men in- 
voked fell. The combatants were 
struck down, it has been estimated, 
at the rate of two thousand an hour, 
or thirty-fi\e a minute.' 

But statistics do not fully capture 
the enormity of the carnage. Rather, 
it is the battlefield that indelibly 
etches it c^n the mind. Examples are 
all too abundant. At the thirty-acre 
Miller cornfield, the .scene of the 
early fighting, a Union commander 
observed that "eNery stalk of corn in 
the northern and greater part of the 
field was cut as closely as could 
ha\e been done with a knife, and 
the slain lay in rows precisek' as 
the\- had stood in their ranks a few^ 

moments before." "It was ne\er my 
fortune," he lamented, "to witness a 
more bloody, dismal battle-field. "- 
By 9:00 the action had shifted to the 
area of the West Woods and Dimker 
Church on Hagerstown Pike. Re- 
porting on a lethal Confederate 
counterattack, a northern reporter 
wrote: "Men were falling fast ... as 
unseen batteries were pelting the 
lines with an iron storm, and the 
Confederate bullets were finding 
the object of their flight. It was piti- 
ful to see the men drop, at times in 
groups, knocked o\erhy solid shot, 
or riddled with musket antl rifle 
balls or bits of shell or case (jr can- 
ister."^ At midmorning. the 
bloodiest fighting of the day oc- 
curred along a simken coimtry 
road, later appropriately renamed 
Bloody Lane. Casualties among 
Confederate defenders were so 
thick, it was reported, "that a man 
could ha\e walked its length with- 
out touching ground."' Finally, 
from midmorning until midafter- 
no(5n the hostilities ragetl at the 
lower bridge across Antietam Creek 
south of Sharpsburg (now known 
as Burnside's Bridge ), where a Con- 
federate brigade .sought to hold a 
I'nion corps at bay. So fierce was 

"Battle of Antietam, " from 
a painting by Alonzo 

by James 0. Breeden 


the fighting that it is said that the twelve- 
foot-wide bridge became so slippery 
with blood that walking was difficult 
and that the water under it actually ran 
red. The visual record graphically un- 
derscores the pathos of the written 
word. Photographic evidence from An- 
tietam, it has been remarked, altered 
foreyer the romantic conceptions of 

Regimental Physicians 

Pitted against Antietam's indescrib- 
able miseiy was the combat physician.'' 
In general, Ci\il War regiments had two 
commi.ssioned medical officers, surgeon 
and assistant surgeon. The assistant sur- 

geon accompanied the troops into bat- 
tle, while the .surgeon — who .served as 
the chief regimental medical officer — 
had supervisory responsibility for 
medical and surgical matters and was in 
charge of the field hospital. A hospital 
steward, a pharmacist of sorts, safe- 
guarded the supply of medicines, 
prepared prescriptions, and acted as a 
general a.ssistant to the two medical offi- 

But it was the assistant surgeon that 
was the backbone of Civil War field med- 
icine. Charged with the eveiyday details 
of his unit's health services, he shoul- 
dered most of the burden of treatment. 
Necessarily in close contact with the 

Harper's Weekly depiction 
of the Antietam battlefield. 
One observer remarked 
that "the cavalry could 
scarcely move without 
doing further violence to 
the fallen. " 


SPRING 1994 

common soldier, he looked out for him 
in camp, ministered to him on the march, 
and came lo his aid on the hattletield. 
And it was in C()mb,it that he proved his 

As William Tasior, assistant surgeon of 
the Nineteenth X'irginia Regiment, and 
present at .Antietam, put it: 

It was (in the battlet'iekl the .issistant 
surgeon \\ .is in his dw n sphere, for it \\ as 
the method of our sen ice for liim to be 
with the troops when they were in action, 
that he might render immediate aid to the 
\\ounded. Here he did his strenuous 
work. Abandoned b\- the surgeon to his 
fate he had to depend upon himself and 
here was sternly tested whate\er he pos- 
sessed of resource, tortitutle .ini,l 

\ more challenging arena to test one's 
mettle probably coukl n< >t ha\ e been 
found. "For my own part," Taylor serio- 
comically added: "I freeh' admit that I 
was ne\er in a battle but th,it 1 should 
ha\'e felt the in< )st exultant j( )y hail 1 been 
out of it." 

The Physician in Battle 

Arnieel with a tew essentials — some 
surgical instruments, ligatures, tourni- 
quets, bandages, lint, splints, and a 
pain-killer — the assistant surgeon. North 
and South, atK anced w ith the troops. As 
his unit maneu\ered, the assistant sur- 
geon committed to memory any 
co\er — trees, fences, haystacks, depres- 
sions in the earth, or gullies — for the 
location of a forward aid station. 

The terrain at .\ntietam favored the 
field medical officer. Gently rolling to 
hilly, it was intersected by frequent gul- 

lies that afforded shelter for hirward aid 
stations and ambulance evacuation 
points. '^ A{ times, however, a protected 
place could not he found and the com- 
bat physician performed his duties in the 
open. Antietam was no exception. Not 
infrequently, tragedy ensued. "As a 
rule," a Union medical officer recounted, 
"our regimental medical officers accom- 
p,mv their comrades on the field. At 
.•\ntietam the surgeon of the 12th 
was killed by the enemy in the midst of 
the fight, as also was the surgeon of the 
2(.)th .Mass.. while nobly and fearlessly 
di.scharging his duty to the v\-oimded."'' 
Spe, iking more generally. lUmter 
Holmes .McCiuire, Stonev\alllack.son's well- 
known medical director and personal 
phvsician, remarked: ".Manv" , . . medical 
officers . . . were wounded or killed on 
the field. One, I saw fall at Strasburg, 
amid the cheers of soldiers at the evi- 
dence he gave of devotion to duty. 
Another, at Sharpsburg, facing an assault 

William James Hamilton 
White, Union surgeon 
killed at Antietam 



before which even veterans quailed and 
fled, and a third I found upon tlie bloody 
field of Cold Harbor dying with a shell- 
wound through his side."^" According 
to John W. Schildt, the authority on med- 
icine at Antietam, four doctors died in 
the battle — three from the North and one 
from the South." 

Battlefield First Aid 

Amidst the noise, smoke, confusion, 
and cries of the wounded and dying, the 
assistant surgeon sought to perfonn his 
duties. A Union surgeon recalled of An- 
tietam "a field .so carpeted with dead and 
wounded that the cavalry could scarcely 
move without doing further violence to 
the fallen. Troops took their positions in 
a confusion that prevented the removal 
of the wounded, who were conse- 
quently imder fire for many hours. Cries 
went up that would have 'softened the 
most hardened heart.'" In the main, the 
assistant surgeon at the front provided 
finst aid which, as one said, consisted 
chietly of "extracting bullets, legating 
bleeding vessels, checking hemorrhages 
in different ways, and splinting fractured 
limbs so that the poor sufferers could be 
sent to the rear for further treatment. "'- 
The most common treatment was a pain- 
killer — opium or morphine, but 
frequently whiskey in the Confederate 
Army — to ward off "shock" and prelimi- 
nary bandaging to protect the wound, 
followed by transfer to the field hospital. 

Evacuating Casualties 

At the beginning of the ho.stilities a 
catastrophic shortcoming on each side 
was the absence of a satisfactory system 
for evacuating casualties. The perma- 

nent, professional ambulance corps was 
to be one of the war's enduring contri- 
butions to military medicine. Its architect 
was Jonathan Letterman. Appointed 
Medical Director of the Army of the Po- 
tomac in June 1862, Letterman's first 
self-assigned task was to devise a means 
of effectively and expediently removing 
the wounded from the battlefield. Under 
Letterman's plan each regiment was to 
have a pair of light two-horse ambu- 
lances staffed by two men and a driver. 
Each vehicle was to have two stretchers. 
Those who manned the ambulances 
were to be soldiers permanently detailed 
for ambulance service, not teamsters or 
band members as before. His system 
received its baptism by fire at Antietam. 
It is generally agreed that the ambulance 
corps performed well. According to one 
of its members: "Most of our badly 
wounded were brought into the hospi- 
tals by dark. 'We then began collecting 
the woimded Confederates. 'We carried 
them to the field hospitals until mid- 
night, when the surgeons, twercome by 
exhau.stion, were unable to care for any 
more."'"* One Union medical officer es- 
timated the number of Confederate 
casualties, "who laid scattered in all di- 
rections upon the Antietam field," that 
were gathered by the North at "more 
than two thcnisand."' ' 

According to H. H. Cunningham, the 
best-known historian of Confederate 
medicine. Hunter McGuire is said to 
have perfected an ambulance or infir- 
mary corps in the spring of 1862, 
antedating Letterman's efforts by several 
months. The Southern infirmary corps 
consisted of approximately thirty de- 
tailed men from each regiment 


SPRING 1994 

: '!mm^mJm^^i^m»S.ri^-:-'. :.- •^'•;- 

Huts and tents for the 
Antietam wounded were 
hastily established on 
Smith s farm, near 
Keedysville, Maryland. 

(allegedly, the "least effective under 
fire") and was commanded by the assis- 
tant surgeon.'"' These men \Aere 
unarmed and wore distincti\e badges. 
They were forbidden to engage in any 
action that was not strictK in the line of 
ckity, and troops other than the inl irmaiy 
corps ^ere not permitted to break ranks 
to care for the wounded or remove them 
from the field under threat of harsh pun- 
ishment. Members of the inhrman- corp.s 
were outfitted with one litter to eveiy 
t^vo men. They accompanied the ambu- 
lances and were charged with following 
the action upon the field. Tragically, and 
largely because of an extreme shortage 
of ambulances, the work of the Confed- 
erate inlirmaPi' corps at Antietam was 
seriously impaired. 

Casualties. North and South, were 
evacuated in aide ambulances. A great 
\ariety of \ehicles ■^ere u,sed by the 
North, Louis C, Duncan, an early student 
of Civil War medicine, elaborated on the 

situation at Antietam: "The one-honse, 
two-wheeled ambtilance rather aptly 
called axalanche' by the soldiers, still 
survived, but disappeared soon after- 
wards. The great four-horse ambulance, 
a sort of converted army wagon, was 
also in use. The arm\- had not yet settled 
down to the light two-horse ambulance 
that w as generally used in the latter part 
of the war.""' .Spring con\e\ances were 
rare in the South, unless ca|itured liom 
the North, ani-l ga\e wa\ to common 
farm wagons. 

No matter w hat the means of transpor- 
tation, casualties were sexerely jolted as 
they were drawn through une\en, often 
wooded terrain or i m roads badly rutted 
by artiller\' and supply trains. Inclement 
weather and inconsiderate or thieving 
dri\ers ackled to the wounded's miseiA . 
The experience of Sergeant A. F. Hill, 
from Penn.syhania, who was wounded 
in the left thigh at Antietam is instnictixe. 
"I was," he reminisced. 



earned directly through the strip of woods 
near which we had lain on the previous 
evening and during the night. Just in rear 
of this wood stood a number of ambu- 
lances ready tt) con\ey wounded men 
from the field. I \^•as placed in one — a 
uiw-horse o)ie- Another sufferer was 
placed beside me, and the jumping, jos- 
tling, springing, quaking vehicle moved 

1 opened a conversation with mv com- 
panion in misery. 

"Where — are — you . . . vvx:)unded?" I 
asked as the ambulance went plunging 

"In the side — oh!" he exclaimed as it 
ga\e a sudden leap. Then he asked, 
"Where are you ^o — oh!" 

"In the . . . leg — thigh. . . " 

"Partners," interrupted the driver at that 
moment, "we are about to go o\'er a little 
rough place now, but \\ ell soon be o\ er 
it .. . It's only a little cornfield." 

The ambulance began to go o\'er the 
ridges of the cornfield, and it made such a 
succession of starts, and knocked me 
about so alarmingly that I really wondered 
that the wounded limb stayed on at all. My 
companion groaned in agony.' 

Understanclably, the wounded, when 
able to, often preferred to walk from the 
battlefield to the field hospital. 

Field Hospitals 

The Held hospital ■^as usually two or 
three miles to the rear of the battle lines. 
At Antietam, .seemingly neither side had 
arri\-ed at a clear policy on the establish- 
ment and operation of these field 
stations, other than they were to be in an 
expansive area, safe from bombardment 
or attack, with an ample water supply. 

Little is known of Confederate field 
hospitals at Antietam, but Letterman or- 
dered corps medical directors "to select 
the houses and barns most easy of ac- 
cess, and such as were well supplied 
with hay or straw, and water. "'*^ In all, 
the Union established seventy-one field 
hospitals. "[T]here is not a barn, or fann- 
house, or store or church, or 
schoolhouse," a physician serving with 
the United States Sanitary' Commission, 
the philanthropic auxiliary of the Union 
Arm>', asserted, "that is not gorged with 
wounded — Rebel and [U]nion. E\'en the 
corn-cribs, and in many instances the 
cow stable, and in one place the man- 
gers were filled. Several thousands lie in 
open air upon straw, and all are receiv- 
ing the kind services of the farmers' 
families and the surgeons."''' The Ha- 
gerstown paper memorably captured 
the scene, labeling the area around the 
battlefield "one \' hospital,"'" 

In reality, these battlefield facilities 
bore little resemblance to a hospital. "To 
apply the term hospital to this field ,sta- 
tion," a Confederate medical officer 
wrote of them in general, "is really a 
misnomer."-' "At some of them," Dun- 
can wrote, "the only equipment was 
what the surgeon and his orderly carried 
on their persons; others had medicine 
wagons and drew supplies from the reg- 
imental wagons. As a rule there was a fair 
supply of medicines and dressings; but 
little or no clothing, bedding, tentage, 
food, or even cooking utensils."-- Exam- 
ining and operating tables were 
extemporized from doors ripped from 
their liinges and v.indow shutters. After 


■ . --^^^^ r^- err: 

"Hospital Steward Filling Surgeons' Orders at the Army Drugstore, " from Frank 
Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 


"Bringing in ttie Wounded 
After Battle, " from a 
sl<etcf} by Edwin Forbes 

nightfall, the only light was provided by 
lanterns and candles, and these were in 
short supply. 

The field hospital was characterized 
by near chaos, as the regimental sur- 
geons frantically tried to deal with heavy 
and mounting casualties. A Union war 
correspondent found an appalling sight 
at the Hoffman farm in the first hours of 
the battle. Already the wounded were 
lying in rows on the ground awaiting 
their turn at the surgeons' tables. At An- 
tietam, the proximity of some of the field 
hospitals to the rapidly shifting hostilities 
compounded the harried surgeons' 
problems. "The operating tables," Clara 
Barton recalled of her service at the 
Poffengerger house, "jarred and rolled 
until we could hardly keep the men on 
them, and the roar was overwhelm- 



Shortages of personnel and 

equipment on both sides added to the 
confusion and misery. For the Union 
wounded invaluable assistance was pro- 
vided by civilians and the U.S. Sanitary 
Commission. There was comparatively 
little of such aid for the Confederate cas- 

The doctors. North and South, did the 
best they could under the circumstances. 
Triage was hurriedly done. Casualties 
were classified as mortally wounded, 
slightly wounded, and in need of sur- 
gery. The doomed were made as 
comfortable as possible and left alone to 
die. Those with minor wounds had their 
injuries dressed, usually with cotton lint 
dipped in cold water, and were perhaps 
given an opiate or whiskey. It was the 
surgical cases that dominated activity 
at the field hospital. In fact, most Civil 
War surgery occurred on the field. These 


SPRING 1994 

unfortunates faced what in recent wars 
lias been called "meat ball surgeiy. " 

Battlefield Injuries 

field hospital casualties presented a 
wide spectrtiiii of injur)-. In general, 
however, injuries fell into three broad 
categories: severe Hesh wounds, broken 
bones, or penetration of vital organs. 
Most combat-related injuries — esti- 
mated at 94 percent of the total — were 
indicted by the conoidal leaden minie 
ball. The destaictiveness of this bullet 
was the result of its size ( .58 caliber), soft 
lead composition, and low velocity. On 
impact, it tumbled or flattened, produc- 
ing a savage, bursting wound. Bony 
.structures su.stained extensive fi.ssuring 
and comminution. "The shattering, 
splintering, and splitting of a long bone 
by the impact of the niinie," as one 
Southern surgeon graphically put it. 
was, "in many in.stances, both remark- 
able and frightening."-' Moreover, 
owing lo its low velocity, the minie ball 
carried bits of clothing and skin and 
other foreign material into the mjured 
ti.ssue, virtually assuring an infected 


Injuries of the extremities dominated 
casualty li.sts. Early experience taught 
surgeons that in such in.stances amputa- 
tit)n was the only means of saving life. 
These empirical observations seemed to 
reinforce the findings of the British sur- 
geons in the Crimean War, where it had 
been concluded that under existing 
methods of treatmeni the wounding of 
any joint or the shattering of a long bone 
by a gunshot usually proved fatal. Con- 

secjuently, amputation for both — citut 
the sooner the heller — became the rule 
of thumb and this procedure became the 
trademark of Civil War surgery'. As a re- 
sult, thousands of soldiers suffered 
indescribable agony and risked death 
trom secondary infection. Reportedly, 
three out every four Civil War operations 
were amputations. Such a drastic prac- 
tice on so large a scale moved Courtney 
R. Hall, a highly regarded student of Civil 
War medicine, to characterize wartime 
surgery as "resembling actual butch- 
ery."-^ The prevalence of primary 
amputation, however, was not to go un- 
challenged. Further observation as the 
war progressed was to lead to a conser- 
vative reaction. 

But at Antietam the iirocedure pre- 
\ailei.l. The recollections of a Union 
hospital steward regarding surgical prac- 
tices at the Keetlysv ille hosjiital is 
revealing. "The principal hospital," he 

was established in the brick church near 
the upper end of the town. Boards were 
kiicl on [np ot the .seats, then slr.iw and 
blankets, and most ol the worse 
were taken to this, the liejcl(|U.irters, Com- 
rades with woLincIs ol all conceivable 
shapes were brought in aiicl placed side 
bv' side as thick as they could lay. and the 
bloody work of amputation commenced. 
The Surgeon.s, iinseH and a corps of 
nurses with sleeves rolled up, worked 
w ith tender care and anxiety to relieve the 
pain and save the lives of all we could. A 
pit was just under the window at the hack 
of the church and as soon as a limb w as 
amputated I would take it to the window 
and drop it outside into the pit The arms, 
legs, feet and hands that were dropped 
into that hole would amount to .several 



hundred pounds. On one occasion I had 
to fish out a hand for its former owner, as 
he insisted that it was all cramped up and 
hurt him.''^ 

Perhaps even more instmctive is the 
case of the aforementioned Sergeant A. 
F. Hill of Pennsylvania. He was taken to 
a field hospital located in a small school- 
house. "The surgeon in charge," his 
account continues; 

came out after half an hour, and I asked 
him what he thought of of my wound. He 
examined it, and very coolly and indiffer- 
ently said, "I'll have to take that leg off you 
after a while, but I haven't the time just 
now — there are so many cases on hand, 
you know." I assured him I could wait; and 
he left me and returned to his work. ... It 
was near e\ening when my Rirn came. I 
had lain during the whole afternoon with- 
out the schoolhouse, listening to the 
horrible screams which came from within, 
and occasionally, to kill time, gazing upon 
a heap of men's arms and legs ^'hich lay 
piled up against the side of the house. The 
sound of battle could still be heard. But to 
be brief; I was carried into the school- 
house and laid upon the operating table. 
"Tell me doctor," I said earnestly, "must 
my leg be amputated?" He coolly thrust his 
finger into the wound and felt the pieces 
of shattered bone. 'T'hat bone," .said he, "is 
shivered all to pieces; and if you \alue 
your life — " 

"Can my life be saved only by — ?" 

"Yes, and even then 1 doubt — I — " He 

"You think it a doubtful case, even 


I said no more. Chloroform Vv'as admin- 
istered; I sank into unconsciousness; and 
when I avi'oke — it was all over.'^ 

Battlefield Compassion 

Like the battlefield, the field hospi- 
tal saw many acts of compassion 
between combatants. At Antietam, a 
Union surgeon reported, six hundred 
Confederates, too seriously wounded to 
be moved, were "very comfortably pro- 
vided for" in hospital tents set up on the 
battlefield.-*' One of the best known 
Civil War photographs is of Union doctor 
Anson Hurd, regimental surgeon for the 
Fourteenth Indiana 'Volunteers, attend- 
ing Confederate casualties in makeshift 
tents at a field hospital on the Otho Smith 
fami. 'Victorious Federals overran the 
hospital of Simon Baruch, assistant sur- 
geon of Kershaw's Brigade of South 
Carolinians and later, the father of Ber- 
nard Baruch. A Northern medical officer 
volunteered to help care for the hapless 
Southern casualties. Baaich recalled: 
"The treatment of my.self and the Con- 
federate wounded, by SurgeonJ. P. Daly, 
a jolly, kind-hearted Irishman, w^as more 
than humane. It was sympathetic and 
cordial."-' (He cheerfully returned 
Daly's kindness a few months later dur- 
ing the battle of Chancellorsville when 
his unit captured a Union field hospital 
and he helped to treat its patients.) 

The Price of Duty 

Duty in the field hospital exacted a 
hea\y toll from the Ci\'il 'War doctor. As 
a member of the United States Sanitary 
Commission said of the Unic:)n's medical 
officers at Antietam; "They gave them- 
selves no rest in view of the 
overwhelming claims of the suffering of 
humanity. ""*" In chronicling his personal 
experiences, Nathan Meyer, surgeon of 


SPRING 1994 

Soldiers convalescing 
from wounds suffered 
during the Red River and 
Port Hudson expeditions 


the Sixteentli Connecticut Regiment, 

On the morning ol tlie battle our liekl ani.1 
staff . , , lireakfastecl on iiard tack anti tlie 
remains of the lx)iied pig wiiich I had 
brought. Soon rebel shells drove us from 
our position in the hollow of rvvo hills, and 
near noon the regiment marched forward 
to .storm Antietam bridge. M>' first station 
was in a little barn by Antietam creek, bm 
the rebel sharpshooters from behind the 
trees, the .stream, soon droxe me 
out. ... I moved back an eighth of a mile 
to the Rohrback [sic] farm house and at 
once arranged it for a held hospital. E\er\' 
room was .soon filled; the barnyard and 
garden were crowded \\ ith wounded; and 
I should not h.ive known where to place 
more. But the battle had swept onward, 
the Rebels were driven back, and houses 
on the other side of the creek formed 
nearer points where other surgeons were 
able to establish field hospitals. .1 worketl 
that day till deep into the night. . . . M 
midnight my patients w cri' all dressetl .md 

fed, my nurses lying down, .intl I rctiretl 
to the garret to a meal of li.irti tatk and 
preserxed strawberries, a pot of which 1 
had found in a little chimney closet there. 
It w;is the First footi since morning/" 

A disconsolate Union medical officer 
exclaimed to Clara Barton: 1 am tired of 
this inhuman incompetence, this ne- 
glect and folly, which leaxe me alone 
with all these .soldiers on my h.incls. Ii\ c- 
hundred of whom will die before day- 
break unless they ha\e attention ;ind I 
ha\'e no light but a li\e-ini.h candle."'" 

Left Behind 

In the e\ent of retreat or w ithdrawal. 
it was standard procedtire for medic. il 
officers to .stay with casualties too seri- 
ously injured to be evacuated. This was 
a dreaded duty, often decided by draw- 
ing lots, fcir being left behinti meant 
months of .separation from one's unit 



iCrMJLK fvvji^£jl^LJM!)?]tAL l-lir/M J5IM •i.Ji;!;'''^?: 

and friends. And before the Winchester 
Accord in the spring of 1862, medical 
officers were considered prisoners-c5f- 
war and were interned until paroled. 
This agreement, the work of Hunter 
McGuire, provided that physicians 
would be regarded as non-combatants 
and not subject to imprisonment. At An- 
tietam, the Confederates, Schildt points 
out, used the Grove fami as a hospital 
during the battle. When the South re- 
treated across the Potomac, Dr. A. W. 
Wiseman, assistant surgeon with the 
Seventh North Carolina, was one of 
those left behind to care for the Confed- 
erate wounded. In his case, the results 
were quite pleasant. "Years later," Schildt 
went on: "[Wiseman] wrote to Mr. Grove 
describing how the doctors of the two 
armies worked, ate, drank and slept to- 
gether .... in the spacious attic of the 
Grove family. He remained at the Grove 
farm till the end of October."-'*-'* 


Sadly, the medical officers. North and 
South, who performed their ministra- 
tions of mercy at Antietam and on 
dozens of other Civil War battlefields 
have received disproportionate, if not 
cursory, attention from the legions of 
historians of the hostilities who have 
been inordinately concerned with bat- 
tles and leaders, pcMnting up what Allan 
Nevins called a national predilection for 
"the glorious" over "the terrible." 

But it is this "forgotten man" of the 
Civil War — ^the combat physician — that 
calls to attention the grim fact that this 
celebrated conflict was a biological ho- 
locaust, characterized by a carnage 
unequaled in American history. He de- 
serves his full measure of recognition. 
Joseph Jones, lauded for his remarkable 
research in the South's armies, hcwpitals, 
and prisons, devoted much of his time 
during the postwar years to .securing the 

Interior of the United 
States Hospital at Hilton 


SPRING 1994 

Confederate surgeon his righikil pl.u e in 
the annals of histon,'. But he coliIcI iia\'e 
been speai\ing for his Union comraeie in 
amis as well when he iiii|-)lored: 

The medical practitioners of the South 
gave their lives and fortunes to their conn- 
try', without any prospect of militars' or 
political fame or preferment. . . . They 
marched with the armies, and watched by 
day and night in the trenches. The South- 
ern surgeons rescued the wounded on the 
battlefield, iiinding up the wounds, and 
preser\ing the shattered limbs of their 
countrymen; the Southern surgeons 
through foLir long years opposed their 
skill and untiring energies to the ravages 
of war and pestilence. At all times and 
under all circumstances, in the rain and 
sunshine, in the cold winter and burning 
heat of summer, and the roar of battle, the 
hissing of bullets and the shriek of and 
crash of shell, the brave hearts, cool heads 
and strong arms of Southern surgeons 
were employed but for one — the 
preservation of the health and li\es and 
the limbs of their countrymen. Tlie South- 
ern surgeons were the first to succor the 
wounded and the sick, and their ears re- 
corded the last words of love and affection 
for country and kindred, and their hands 
closed the eyes of the dying Confederate 
soldiers. It is but just and right that a Roll 
ot Honor should be formed of this band 
of medical heroes.-^"' 

In a real sense, this is what we are 
setting in motion here today with the 
launching of the National Museum of 
Civil War Medicine. And what better 
place to do .so than on the bloodsoaked 
field of Antietam. 


1. A \ast lilcratLirc chronicles .md ana- 
lyzes the Antietam campaign; the best guide 
is Allan Ne\ins, James I. Robertson, jr., and 
Bell I. Wiley, Civil War Books: A Ciitical Bib- 
liogniphy. 2 vols, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana 
State lni\ersiry Press. 1967), Two works of 
special importance in the preparation of this 
paper were James V. Murfin, 'Ihe Gleam of 
Bayoiiels: TIk Battle nf Aiiiielam ami the 
Maryland Campaign of 1862 (New \'ork: 
Bonanza Books. 1965) and Richard Wheeler. 
Lee's Teirihle Sirift Sword: From Antietam to 
Chaiicellarsi ille. An Eyeu itness IHstoiy ( New 
'I'ork: HarperC^ollins, 1992). For medical as- 
pects of engagements, see Louis C. Duncan, 
The Medical Department of the United States 
Army in the Civil H"rtr(191?; reprint. 
Gaithersburg, .Md.; Butternut Press. I'^^Ss), 
126-71; Frank R. Freemon, Microbes and 
Millie Balls: An Annotated Bibliography if 
Civil War Medicine (Rutherford. N J 
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1993). 
John W. Schildt, Antietam Hospitals (Chews- 
\ille, Md.: Antietam Publications. 198"), 

2. Murfin, Gleam of Bayonets. 221. 

3. Ibid., 236. 

4. Ibid.. 262. 

5. See William A. Fra.ssanito. Antietam: 
The Photographic Legacy of America 's Blood- 
iest Day ("Se^- \'oxk: Scribner. 1978). 

6. The standard works on Civil War med- 
icine are George Worthington Adams. 
Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the 
Union Army in the Civil lVflr(New ^'ork: U, 
Schuman, 19S2) and H H Cunningham, 
Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical 
Service (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Lni- 
versity 19^8). 

7. William H, Ta\lor. De Qnilnis Dis- 
courses and Tssays (Richmond: Bell Book 
and Statione^^■Co.. 1908). 111. 115. 



8. Duncan, Medical Department of the 
United States Army, 143— 14. 

9. Stanley B. Weld and David A. Soskis, 
eds., "The Reminiscences of a Civil War Sur- 
geon, John B. Lewis," Joiir)ial of the History 
of Medicine and Allied Sciences 21 (1966): 

10. Hunter McGuire, "Annual Address of 
the President." Tra)isactions of the Souther)! 
Surgical and Gy)wcological Association 1 
(1890): 7. 

11. Schildt, Antielani Hospitals, 55-56. 

12. LeGrand J. Wilson, Tlje Confederate 
Soldier, ed. James W. Silver (Memphis: Mem- 
phis State University Press, 1973), 120-21. 

13. Duncan, Medical Department of the 
United States Army, l44. 

1-1. Weld and Soskis. "Remini.scences of a 
Civil War Surgeon." 52. 

15. Cunningham. Doctoiy in Gray, lit. 

16. Duncan. Medical Department of the 
United States Army, l-i6. 

17. Wheeler. Lee's Terrible Sivift Sirord, 

18. Duncan. .Medical Department of the 
I 'nited States Army. l-tS. 

19. Quoted in Schiklt. .Antietum Hospitals. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Wilson, Confederate .Soldier 121. 

22. Duncan, Medical Department if the 
t 'uited .States Army. l-i7. 

25. Quoted in Stewart .M. Brooks, Ciril 
W^flr Aferf/c/HcM Springfield. 111.: Charles C 
Thomas, 1966), 90. 

24. DeeringJ. Roberts, "Field and Tempo- 
rary Hospitals," in Prisons and Hospitals. 
vol. 7 of Tfie Photographic History of the 
Civil War, ed. Francis Trevelyan Miller (New 
York: Review of Reviews Co., 1911), 262. 

25. Courtney R. Hall. "Tlie Lessons of the 
War between the States," in Histoiy of Amer- 
ican Medicine: A Symposium, ed. Felix 
Marti-Ibanez (New '^'ork: MD Publications. 
Inc., 1959), 82. 

26. Quoted in Schildt. Antietam Hospitals, 

27. Quoted in Wheeler, Lee's Terrible 
Swift Sword, 108, 136-37. 

28. Weld and Soskis, "Reminiscences of a 
Civil War Surgeon," 52. 

29 Simon Baruch. Reminiscences of a 
Confederate Surgeon (New York: n.p.. 
1915). 2. 

30. Quoted in Schildt. .-intietam Hospitals, 

31. Stanley B. Weld, "A Connecticut Sur- 
geon in the Ci\il War: The Reminiscences of 
Dr. Nathan Mayer," Journal of the Histoiy of 
Medicine and Allied Sciences 19 (1964): 282. 

32. Brooks, Civil War Medicine, 9. 

33. Schildt, Antietam Hospitals, 35. 

3-t. Quoted in James O. Breeden, Joseph 
fines, .\[.D.: (f the Old South (lex- 
ingt<5n: L'ni\ersity Press of Kentucky, 1975), 

James O. Breeden is professor of 
history at Southern IVIethodist 
University. He was educated at the 
University of Virginia and Tulane 
University. Breeden has written and 
lectured extensively on Civil War 
medicine. Best linown for Joseph 
Jones, M.D.: Scientist of the Old South 
(University Press of Kentucky, 1975), 
he is a member of the honorary board 
of the National l\/luseum of Civil War 


Jonathan A. Letterman, Surgeon for 
the Soldiers 

After World War 11, Major General 
Paul R. Hawley, Chief Surgeon of 
the Euro|iean Theatre ol Operations, 
wrote; "There wa.s not a day during 
World War II that I did not thank God for 
Jonathan I.etternian. He was truly Sur- 
geon for the .soldiers."' 

Letteniian was Direttorol the 
Army ol iIk' Potomai.. .1 position similar 
to Hawley's during WorkI War II. The 
difference, h(n\e\er, was that Letterman 
was a pioneer in the organization ol 
militar\' metlieine. In IS(i2 he was eon- 
fronted hx' a priniili\e system ol 
transporting the wounded, .nul he de- 
veloped "a degix'e ol perlettion . . . 
found in no olhei" army at home or 
abroad. "- 

Who was this man so lew peo- 
ple know^^ I.elli-' was born on 
Deci-'mlxa II. I.S2t, at ("annonsbuig, 
Fenns\ l\ .inia. w hieh is south and west 
of i'ittsbuigh in Washington County. 
His parents were Anna Ritchie, daiigh- 
terof a prominent political family, and 
Jonathan, Senior, a leading practitioner 
of medicine in western Rennsyhania. 
Jonathan followed his father in the 
medical profession. His educa- 
tion was from pri\ate tutors, and he 
attended Jefferson College in Can- 

nonsburg, where he was actixe in Phi 
Kappa Rsi fraternity. 

Medical Education 

.\lter giaduation Irom Jeflerson (Col- 
lege in IHn. he ira\ eled the state 
to Philadelphia and enrolled in Jefferson 
.Medical College, an institution foundetl 
in IS2i by George .McClellan, granella- 
ther of General George H. McClellan. It 
is interesting that the careers o( these 
men became intertwined during the 
Ci\ il War. 

The facility at Jefferson Cx)llege 
outst.mding; J. Robley Dunglison taught 
materia medica. and Joseph Pantosi and 
Heniy Mutter taught anatomy and siir- 
ger>^ Charles Meigs and Franklin Bache 
comprised the departments of obstetrics 
ani-l chemistry. respecti\ ely. That re- 
mark, ible faculty, along with fine 
laboratories and a patient dispensaiA'. 
formed a sound foundation tor 
l.etterman's medical education. 

Letterman graduated in 184') and im- 
mediately applied for the Iniled States 
Army Medical Corps. Why he chose a 
militaiy career o\er pri\ate practice is a 
m\'ster\'. Could it h.ive been economic 
conditions at the time or just an inner 
desire to .see what the country had to 

by Gordon E. Dammann 

Jonathan Letterman, seated at far left, and tiis Army of tfie Potomac staff 

SPRING 1994 

offer? Fifty-two candidates took the 
qualifying examination in New "^I'ork City 
that year, wliicli tested knowledge of 
clinical medicine. Latin, physics, and 
practical anatomy. Of the fifty-tv>'o, only 
nine were offered commissions. On 
June 29. 18-49. Letterman recei\-cd his 
commission; also accepted for a com- 
mission was William A. Hammond. That 
proved to be the start of a lifelong friend- 
ship that would see both men through 
the Ci\il War and years beyond. 

Early Military Service 

Letterman 's finst duts' station was Fort 
Meade, in the \icinitA' of modern-day 
Tampa. Florida. During July. hSSl, he 
.sent the following discouraging report 
on health conditions there. "Sickness 
pre\ ailetl here . . . owing to the position 
of the camp . . . which is upon the lo\\- 
ground upon the bank of the ri\er. The 
intermittent fe\"ers pre\ailed U > a C( >nsid- 
erable extent."^ Letterman was 
de.scribing malaria, the most frecjuent 
treatment for which w as sulfate of qui- 
nine. From 1852 to 1853. he applied for 
transfer. In late 1853 he was sent west to 
Fort Ripley, Minnesota, and eventually 
to Fort Union in the New Mexico Terri- 
tory'. Also stationed in the same area was 
William Hammond. Both men w ere en- 
gaged in collecting specimens for the 
Smithsonian Institute, then a new mu- 

Letterman had a great interest in the 
Indian tribes of the Southwest and their 
relationship with the desert. (It is %er\' 
interesting that the only known li\"ing 
Letterman descendant. Gordon S. Letter- 
man, is a physician who also possesses 

a great interest in the N'ati\e culture of 
the Southwest. ) 

In I85!S. Letterman returned east as a 
medical puneyor at Fortress .Monroe 
and New ^'ork. There he gained \aluable 
lessons in the importance of medical 
supply, by 1801 he was on duty in (Cali- 
fornia, and ■when Fort Sumter wa^ fired 
upon, he was ordered to bring California 
\()kmteers to the east. 

Service in the Union Army 

Letterman was Inst assigned .Medical 
Director of the Department of X'irginia of 
the West ( \'irginia ) under the com- 
mand (M General George B, .McClellan 
The hospital inspector of that area was 
his old comrade William Hammond. 

.After the disaster of First Bull Run in 
July of 1861. McClellan was named Com- 
mander of the Anny of the Potomac. He 
set out to reorganize and refit that fight- 
ing force. Also at the same period the 
.Medical Corps was ripe for change. .Mter 
two inept Surgeon General.s — Lawson 
and Clement A Finley — the .Medical 
Corps needed redirection. .Many names 
were mentioned, but none with the 
blessing of the newly fomied and pow- 
erful United States Sanitarv' Commission. 

.\fter much political in-Hghting. the 
thirty-three-year-old Hammond was 
given the post of Surgeon General. .As a 
result of that promotion, he passed o\er 
many senior officers who aspired to the 
position. That would haw a bearing on 
hi,'' future relationships with those men. 
In the spring of 1862 McClellan started 
his offensi\'e — the i^eninsula Cam- 
paign — as an all-out effort to capttire the 
Confederate capital of Richmond. 


Letterman was medical purveyor at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, in 1858. During tiie Civil 
War, hospitals and additional surgeons' quarters were required. Above is J. H. Schell's 
"Reception of thie Wounded Soldiers of the Federal Army at Fortress Monroe. " 

SPRING 1994 

By July, 1862, the Union Army wa.s 
tbiight out, and no chance- for victory 
wa.s .seen. Wiiiic the wouncieti anti sick 
were piling up by tile thousands on the 
lianixs of tiie James Ri\er, was 
ram|")anl, including malaria, typhoiel 
fever, and .scurvy. A change ot Medical 
Director was crucial. McClellan and 
llanimonti conferred, and the job was 
gi\en to their old comrade Jonathon 
Letterman. On July 1, 1S62, Letterman 
was gi\en the following ch.u'ge by 
I lammond: 

1. \\m shoiikl satisfy yourself that all 
medical supplies are in proper quantity 
.iTul (|iiality. The time has passed when 
the excuse of "no supplies" will he ac- 

2. You will lay before the olTices of the 
QM IQuarterniasterl Department your 
requisites for transportation, 

?. You will rec|uire all medical officers 
in your comni.ind to he attentive and 
failliful in the discharge of their duties. 

I. ^'ou will arrange for the safe, effec- 
tual, comfortable, and speedy tr.insport of 
the sick and wounded, 

S, 'I'ou will hire such physicians, 
nurses, etc. as you require immediately, 

() 'tbu are authorized to call directh' 
upon the medical purveyors who will fur- 
nish you e\er\thing you may ask 
for — reg.irdless of suppK tables. 

In closing Hammond .said, "I commit 
to you the health, tlie comfort, and the 
lives ot thoirsands of our fellow soldiers 
who are fighting lor the m.nntenance of 
their liberties."' 

Letterman did not wait for the ink to 
diy on the orders before ri\ercraft were 
churning the James River from 
Harrison's Landing to Fortress Monroe 

with more than thirty thousand sick and 
woimded. Fresh \egetables were or- 
dered lor the men, antI hospital tents 
were sent for their shelter. 

Letteniian then turned his .ittention to 
the growing crisis of the amliLilance ,sy.s- 
tem — or rather, the lack of an ambulance 
system. He saw that both the (|uarter- 
master and medical departments were 
ha\ing trouble coordinating efforts to 
remove the woimded from the field. 
Who was in charge? Letterman drew up 
plans in a few weeks for the organizatii >n 
of an ambulance corps that would be 
exclusively dedicated to e\aci.iation and 
care of the wounded. 

An order of Augirst 2, l(S(i2, stipulated 
personnel and eciihpment: 

The allowance of aiul 
transport carts will be; one transport cm. 
one foLir-horse and two tw( )-horse ambu- 
lances for a regiment; one two-horse 
ambulance for each battery of artillery; 
,ind two two-horse ambulances for the 
head(|u.irters of c.ich ,-\rmy Corps H.ich 
amluilance will he provided with two 
.stretchers. . , . The privates of the ambu- 
lance corps will consist of two men and a 
driver to each ambulance, and ( )ne i\ er 
to each transport cart."' 

The medical director of each corps 
was authorized to make weekly inspec- 
tions of all the ambulances, trans|iort 
carts, horses, and harnesses, and to de- 
termine whether they were being irsed 
f( )r any other purpose than the tr.mspc ir- 
tation of the sick and wounelcd and 
medical supplies (a too-common 
abuse). IJie medical director could also 
institute drills. 


One of Letterman 's greatest achievements was the establishment of an ambulance 
system. Pictured above is a "field drill, " conducted shortly after Antietam. 

SPRING 1994 

As l.clti.Tiiian aiitl his newly lormcd 
anti rcorgani/ed nictliciil corps %\ere 
being molded togetlier, militaiy reorga- 
nizations were creating liaxoc. The 
politicians were becoming dissalistied 
with the methodical jilotlings of McC^lel- 
lan and decided to form a new 
army — the Union Army of North Virginia 
under commander John Pope. Pope had 
achieved some sikcx'ss in the West and 
was brought to thi.' cistern theater in 
hojies that his bomlxistic |X-rsonality 
would prove successful. Succeed it did 
not, as Robert E. Lee showed at Cedar 
Mountain and Second .\lan.issas. 

l.etterman had to be going in circles. 
At his direction, men were being dis- 
p.itchcLl north from fortress Monroe to 
hospitals in Baltimore, IMiiladelphia, and 
Washington, D.C. A newly formed am- 
bulance corps \\ as a plan on jiaper only. 
But as fate v\-ould have it, McClellan was 
again called upon to save the army and 
the nation. As the .nniy mo\ed noilli in 
late August and early September, Letter- 
man formulated plans for treatment of 
the wounded from the great battle that 
was imminent. He urgently called for 
hospital supplies from Baltimore as well 
as two hundred more ambulances to be 
moved as quickly as possible to tlie bat- 
tle area near Frederick, Maryland. But 
rebels destroyed the railroad bridge o\er 
the Monocacy Ri\er south of Frederick, 
and the precious supplies had to be .sent 
piecemeal to the waiting armies. On 
September l4, the army mo%ed west- 
•^arci from Frederick to meet its destiny 
at the battles of South Mountain and 
Liltimately Antietam. Lettemian's plans 
and ideas were to undergo a baptism of 

Letterman was in constant action in 
and arountl Middletown while the battle 
was in progress. He was pressing tor- 
ward the ambulance corps to receive the 
wounded and minister to their needs. 
f lis plan was to set up receiving hospitals 
in Middletown and Biirkettsville, where 
the wounded could be .sorted. The seri- 
ously wounded were sent back to 
Frederick and its hospitals; those with 
minor wounds were stabilized cUitl then 
retLirned to their units. He opposed the 
practice ol .illowing wountlec.! soRIkts 
to trawl home with relatives. 

After a conversation with McCdellan. 
Letterman determined that the nKi|c )r en- 
gagement would be tought on the banks 
of the Antietam, a small stream running 
north-south in front of the town of 
Sharp.sburg. Letterman hurrietl to the 
area, and on September IS he viewed 
the hospital sites in Boonsboro, Keedys- 
ville, and the area north and east of the 

Civil War amputation kit 


This view of ttie Fiftii New Yorii Infantry stiows a variety of vehiicles used for 
removing ttie wounded in 1864. 

SPRING 1994 

Stream. He decided that Ixirns wciuld he 
the ideal sites for major liospitals he- 
caiise the)' (.(intained an aiiimdance ol 
hay and straw for iiedding. Also, their 
size was appropriate for tiie number of 
casualties expected. 

Heai-kiuarters was established at the 
V\y House, which was centrally located 
to the battle area, from there, Lellernian 
directed the mowments of the medical 
teams. Ambulances and supplies were 
sent from Frederick and Middletown. As 
the fighting of September H came to an 
end at dusk, more than 2S, ()()() 
wounded — both Union and (".onleder- 
ate — littered the field. 

Letterman's new ideas for CNacuation 
were sorely tested. The wounded were 
picked up by litter bearers and carried to 
field dressing stations. These stations 
were usually at least fifty yards behind 
the battle in an area of relati\e .safely 
from stra\' projectiles. M that location an 
a.ssistant surgeon and hospital stewiuxl 
attended the wound.s — doing basic first 
aiel. If the patient was gravely \\( juneleel. 
he would be mo\ed by ambulance to the 
large field hospitals, where surgeons 
and assist. lilts could perform surgery. 

Letterman firmly beliewd that the se- 
rioirsly wounded shoLild not be moved 
too far too soon. The jiatient needed 
quiet rest rather than a bouncing \\ agon 
ride to Frederick. Letterman, therefore, 
establishcLl two great tent hos|-)itals .11 
Smoketown and L( )cusi S|"irings. The tent 
facilities were equal in even' \\a\ to la- 
cilities in large cities. 

Medical supplies and hcxspital rations 
were nearly exhausted after a few hours, 
howe\er, and Letterman ordered t^\elve 
wagonloads of additional supplies. He 

realized ihal the entire supply system 
had t( ) be realigned. Tw < > w eeks later, ( in 
(October 4, he issued an order for a new 
supply .system for the army. 

He began: "Experience has shown 
that the medical supply authorized by 
the Regulations for a regimeni for three 
months is too cumbrous for acti\e oper- 
ation, in.stances being frec|uent where 
the whole suiijih" has been lell on the 
roadside. Hereafter, in the Army of the 
Potomac, the follow ing sujiplies w ill be 
allow eel 10 a brigade tor one month tor 
active tielel sen ice": 

One hospital wagon, filled. 

One medicine chest for a reginient, 

One hospital knapsack for each regi- 
mental medical officer, filled .... 

llie .Surgeon in charge of each brig.ide 
w ill require and receipt torall tliesestipplies. 

Confederate field 


Winslow Homer's classic "The Surgeon at Work at the Rear During an Engagement" 

SPRING 1994 

including tliose in the (four-horsel hospi- 
tal wagon, and will isstie to the st-nior 
Surgeon of each regiment the medicine 
chest and knapsacks, taking receipt ihere- 
lor. The hospilal wagon, with its horses. 
harness, etc.. will be receipted lor h\ ihe 
ambulance quartermaster. 

The Surgeon in charge ot the brigade 
will i.ssue to the Medical olTicers of the 
re,gimenls such of these sup]ilies as may 
he re(|inred tor their commands, intor- 
malK , taking no reteipls. demanding no 
ret|tiisition. btit accountin.g for the issues 
as expended. 

The Surgeons in charge of brigades will 
at once make out requisitions in accor- 
(.lance with these inslruclions. and 
tr.insmit them, approved by the Medical 
Directors of Corps, to the Medical Pur- 
veyor of this .'\rmy. These supplies being 
deemed sufhcient for one month only, or 
for an emer.geiicy. .Medical Directors of 
(;orps will see that they ,ne alwa\s on 
hand, timely ret|uisitions being iiLnle for 

Thus, diiiin.g .1 short thive-iiK )nlh pe- 
riod, Lettcrnian had adopted or 
inaugurated three measures that contrib- 
uted lo an efficient medical system: the 
ambulance system, the field hospital sys- 
tem, and the organization of medical 
.supply. A year before, injtily of 1861 , the 
Medical Corps was known for its state of 
confu-sion; by September of lS(i2 a sem- 
blance of c^rganization and order 
prevailed. Its otit-standing fealure was 
the o\en\ helming greatness of Jonathan 
Letterman. The plaudits hir him were 

In October. ISbs. Letterman m.irried 
Maiy Lee of Manlancl, who was related 
to the famous families of that region. In 
r^eccmber he re(|uested to be reliev edol 

duty as Surgeon General, and he sjient 
the ne.xt several m( >nths with the I )epart- 
ment ol the Sus(|uehaiina as inspector ( )l 
hosiiitals. Lie resignecl'his army commis- 
sion on December 22. l<S6t. Officers of 
the .Medical ("orjis drafted a memorial to 
0)ngress commemoratin.g his \ears ol 
,ser\ ice: 

We express not the sentimenrs (it .Med- 
ical (Jthcers onh'; we gi\e the opinion of 
.Mililarv Commanders, when we altirm 
thai nol only the remarkable state ot 
health, but in great measure the tone, the 
vigor, and in part the discipline of this 
Army, is due to the efhcieiil otticer at the 
head of its .Medical Depanment. 

When we contrast this Army at present, 
with what it was w hen Stirgeon Letterman 
assumed the charge of its .Medic al Depart- 
ment, when the tide ot men tlow ingloilie 
rear depleted its i.mks. owin.y lo a l.ix 
.system ot discharges, or no system at all. 
and owing lo an tinchecked license ot 
granting p.isses to hospitals; when we 
c( )mpare the provisions nc iw made for the 
wounded w ith what they w ere before his 
time, we cannot help congr.ilul.itin.g the 
.■\rm\ and the coLintr\ upon the chan.t;e. 
and cannot forbear bringing lo \i)ur no- 
tice the merit of the otRcer lo whom 
change is due .... 

The depletion of the .\rnu In the .great 
number sent to the rear been slopped; 
ample means provided .iiicl skilltullv .ip- 
plied afford the sick all comfort necessary 
for their recoverv' within the lines. Sick- 
ness, bv wise sanitary regulations, 
incLilcated .ind rigidly enforced by con- 
sl;inl vigil. ince, h;is been prevented from 
m;iking its custom. irv inroads upon ihe 
slren.^lh ot ihe ,\rmv.''^ 

f'pon his retirement Irom active ser- 
vice. Letterman accepted a post in 



California with Thomas A. Scott, presi- 
dent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, but 
soon resigned and returned to the prac- 
tice of medicine and the writing of his 
memoirs, published in 1866 as Medical 
Recollections of the Army of the Poto- 
mac. He reentered public service as a 
candidate for Coroner of the City and 
County of San Franci.sco in 1867, but his 
victoiy was darkened by the sudden 
death of Mary Lee Letterman. He served 
as Coroner for two terms and also ac- 
cepted appointment as Surgeon General 
of the State of California. The "dark 
shadow of his domestic affliction" and a 
chronic intestinal problem cut short his 
life, however. '■" He died in San Francisco, 
at age forty-seven, on March 15, 1872. 

His memory and achievements are 
preserved today in the naming of Letter- 
man General Hospital, the large militaiy 
hospital at the Presidio of San Francisco. 


1. A.s cited in Hdward Louis Bavers ad- to the Akimni Association of Jefferson 
Medical College, June 10, 196-4. 

2. Bennett A. Clements, "Memoir oFjona- 
than Letterman, M.D.," Jouniui <)/' llic 
Militaiy Serrice liisliliilion nf itie liiited 
States. .Sept., 1883. 26.^. 

3. Biographical information about Letter- 
man comes from his autobiography. Medical 
Recollections of the Army of the Potomac 
(New York: D. Appleton. 18Wi); Clements. 

"Memoir of Jonathan Letterman," 252-87; 
National Cyclopaedia of American Biogra- 
phy, vol. 18 (New York: James T. White & 
Co.. 1922). 338-39; Dictionary of Americati 
Biography: unpublished paper by Robert J. 
T. Joy, L'niformed Seivices University of the 
Health Sciences. 

4. General Orders, Surgeon General's 
Office, June 19, 1862. 

5. Letterman, Medical Recollections. 24- 

6. Clements, "Memoir of Jonathan Letter- 
man," 262-66. 

7. Ibid., 269-70. 

8. Ibid,, 270-72. 

9. Ibid., 273. 

Gordon E. Dammann is Chairman of 
the Board of the Nationai Museum of 
Civil War IVIedicine and author of the 
two-volume Pictorial Encyclopedia of 
Civil War Medical Instruments and 
Equipment. He is active in numerous 
historical and professional 
associations and has been an 
instructor of Civil War history at 
Highland Community College. He 
serves on the editorial board of 
North/South Magazine and has edited a 
reprint of Letterman 's memoirs. He is a 
graduate of Loyola University and 
Loyola University School of Dentistry. 
A Captain in the United States Army 
Dental Corps, he is currently in private 
dental practice In Lena, Illinois. 


Beverly Barrett: A Civilian Doctor 
in the Civil War 

This paper originated as a tirst-person "living liiston," presentation describing the 
Civil War experiences of Beverly Barrett, a civilian physician of Springfield, Missouri. 
It is based on the author's research into Barretts personal letters and reminiscences, 
which were graciously provided to him by members of the Barrett family, 

Beverly Barrett v^as born in ,St. Genevieve Count\', Missouri, on januarv' S, l,S2-4. 
His father John S. Barrett, also a physician, had migrated to .Mis.souri from \'irginia; 
his mother, a Miss Patterson, was of Scottish descent and had grov\n up in South 
Carolina. Dr. Beverly Barrett was one of ten chiklren. .ind he recalled his early 
education as fair. In 1S46 he married Susan Randeman. They became the |-).irents of 
six chiklren. 

Barrett began his study of medicine as an apprentice in Fredericktown, .Mis.souri. 
under a well-established and respected physician. He later mo\-ed from eastern 

Alexander Simplot's 1861 
rendering of "The Town of 
Springfield, Missouri " 

by Thomas P. Sweeney 



Missouri to tlie community of Buffalo and then to Springfield, Misstuiri. He enjoyed 
a large practice in Springfield and was known as a warm and good-hunrored man. 

Now, Dr. Barrett would like to relate his experiences as a "border state" civilian 
physician during the late unpleasantness. 

I started my practice in the Ozarks, 
when wolves and panthers were 
more numerous than homesteaders. By 
the 1860s I had an extensive practice 
throughout the White River region. 
When the Civil War broke out, I was 
generally in sympathy with the South but 
did not actually espouse the cause of the 
Confederacy. I therefore escaped much 
of the partisan hostility that prevailed in 
Missouri and kept the state in perpetual 

Outbreak of War 

The news by telegraph of the firing < in 
Fort Sumter cau.sed intense feeling and 
excitement. Our Springfield AdvejUser 
issued an extra announcing the event, 
and townspeople assembled in crowds 
and carried on spirited arguments about 
the coming conflict. 

By June of 1861 Federal troops were 
beginning to arrive in Springfield. The 
first troops were those of General Franz 
Sigel, followed by General Thc^mas W. 
Sweeny and General Nathaniel Lyon. As 
the sun rose on August 10, we could hear 
the cannon fire. The Battle of Wilson's 
Creek, or Oak Hills, had commenced. By 
mid-morning, the Federal wounded 
were being carried into the town. The 
report was that the battle was raging. 
Lyon was driving the enemy at all points. 
Union loyalists cheered and bestirred 

themselves taking care of the stricken. 
Union authorities commandeered the 
new courthouse and sheriff's resi- 
dence as a makeshift hospital; by 
midnight it held one hundred men. 
The Bailey house and the Methodist 
Church were likewise filled. All day 
and well after dark, every available 
wheeled vehicle — ambulances, car- 
riages, butcher's wagons, and express 
wagons — plied between the battle- 
field and the town bringing off the 
wounded. As the day wore on, the 
news from the front changed: General 
Lyon had been killed and the Federals 
were faring badly and in retreat. 

The retreating Linion soldiers and vol- 
unteers fled toward Rolla, destroying 
what ammunition and other stores they 
could not carry. In Springfield, tensions 
were high. The public square was mill- 
ing with soldiers, frightened civilians, 
and horses and farm livestock; convey- 
ances and military equipment were 
everywhere — cannon carriages, army 
wagons, farm wagons, and buggies. 
Army supplies and stores were packed 
for Rolla. Any merchant wishing to safe- 
guard inventory also headed in that 
direction. Shopkeepers sympathetic to 
the Federal cause hailed soldiers as they 
came into town and passed out hams, 
tobacco, and other delicacies. Every- 
thing was in confusion, and the officers 



-* H^ 



Barrett was one of several civilian physicians who attended to the wounded after 
the Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861. 

SPRING 1994 

wore swearing at each other. Fearing the 
approach of Confederate troops, one 
merchant slit a hogshead of sugar on the 
street and told soldiers to take all that 
they could. - 

And the town likewise mohilizetl tor 
the care of the wounded. Women volun- 
teered their senices as nurses. Ci\'ilian 
physicians, including myselt, assisted 
militarv' surgeons. Dr. Hdward C. Frank- 
lin of the Fifth .Missouri \blimteers was 
placed in charge of the lY-deral 

The Federals left at midnight and by 
daybreak of .August 1 1 were out of the 
countw Hours later the Confederates 
began to set foot in the nearly deserted 
town. Mis.souri and Texas cavalry fol- 
lowed. Soon Cenerals Sterling "Pap" 
Price and Ben .McCulloch rode in. Cren- 
eral James E. Rains confiscated most of 
the medical supplies of the remaining 
Federals. lea\ing them in bad straits. We 
did our, howe\er, to take care of the 
wounded on both sides. I got to know 
the Federal surgeons \er\' well, espe- 
cially Dr. Samuel Melcher of the Sixth 
.Mi.ssouri Volunteers. ' 

The ConfcLlerate wounded were in 
pitiful shape. On the battlefield. Federal 
surgeons had offered them little, leaxing 
care to be performed in Springfield. 
Confederate surgeons led by Dr. Caleb 
Winfrey had established a surger)^ sta- 
tion at the Ra\- House on the eastern 
edge of the battlefield. The surgeons 
were shocked lo discover wounds cov- 
ered Viith maggots, the flies laying eggs 
in the wounds or on the blood- and 
pus-drenched uniforms and bandages. 
After several attempts to remove those 
pests we were succe.ssful by using calo- 

mel sprinkled freely over the wounded 
surfaces. When the sloLighs separated, 
clean granulating surfaces were pre- 
sented, which we dressed with balsam 
of copaiba (copaiba, a stimulant ot mu- 
cous membranes), smearing the 
bandage with this oleo-resin, which 
seemed to repel the maggots."' 

.Many soldiers had su.stained abdomi- 
nal wounds, which led to intense pain 
resulting in (.leatli. We pertormed some 
secondar\- amputations in the hospital; 
all above the knee ended fatalK- from 
heniorrhage or fever. There were l\\ elve 
cases of compound fracture ol the 
femur. A\\ but two resulted fatalh'. Some 
fractures v\ere amputated; others were 
treated with splints. Two v\ere treated 
v\ith I.istons straight splint, and both 
surviv etl v\itli some shortening ot the 

In September. Contetlerate Colonel T. 
T. Tavlor was left in cc:>mmand of Spring- 
field after General Sterling Price 

Samuel H. Melcher, 
surgeon of the Sixth 
Missouri Volunteers 


^^<i-^^ _ 

John C. Fremont's attack on Confederate encampments outside Springfield, from 
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 

SPRING 1994 

marched off to Lexington, Missouri, lie 
treated the Federal wounded kindlw 1 le 
furnisiietl salt to the hosi^ilal \\ hen it was 
impcKssihIe to procure from other 
sources, oreatK' to the disgust of some of 
his command, who thought the federal 
prisoners not "worth their salt.' Colonel 
Taylor was as gallant and bra\e an offi- 
cer as he was chi\alrous and generous. 
At an encampment outside Springfield, 
he left behind appro.ximately one thou- 
sand (Confederate soldiers to guartl the 

On October 2S, an adxance guard 
under Major General John C. Fremont, 
then Commander of the Amiy of the 
West, made se\'eral charges on the Cx in- 
federate encampment. Dr. Melcher and 
I were in the \icinit\' of Hoon\ille Road 
at the time and met some of the attacking 
scouts. Knowing what was to folkm , we 
returned to the hospital in 
anticipation of woundeel.*'^ 

Aftermath of Pea Ridge 

A second momentous encounter oc- 
curred in March of l.S(i2, when 1 recei\ed 
news that a battle had taken place in 
northern Arkansas. We journeyed to the 
Pea Ridge battlefield to .search for com- 
rades who could be among the deatl or 
wounded. My brother and a Dr. F, 1.. 
Robinson started out on horseback. 
Long before we arri\ed on the battle- 
field, we could see signs of the 
stmggle — dead horses, wounded men, 
and here and there a Three miles 
from the battlefield we happened upon 
an old Federal surgeon lying in a cabin 
dreadfully wounded b\' a cannon ball 
that had taken off a portion of his hip. 
He realized, as we did, that it was a 

mortal inJLirs'. We dressed the miserable 
woimd antl shook the dying man's hand 
aiul went on our way. We witnessed a 
great many woundedxin both sides, but 
OLir attention was most di\erted to the 
Confederates because our sympathies 
were mosti)' that way. We knew that we 
had a "brother" among their wounded, 
Mark Abernathy, whom we hunted up. 
We also tried to relie\e the sLiffering of 
men we had not known. Among the 
ni( )rtally wounded was General William 
Slack, as bra\e an officer as there e\er 
was. We worked under many disatKan- 
tages. VC'e hired a sutler's wagon and 
horse at ten dollars a day and, with the 
permission ol the Federals, loaded up 
the Wduiuled anti hcitletl for Spring- 

All of our charges were in bad sh,ipe. 
We had to amputate Abernath\ 's leg be- of a serious knee woLind. .'\nother 
man, Fulbrighl, had been shot m the side 
w ith a minie ball, which we w ere able U ) 
extract after two weeks. Major Hacker's 
shouklei was shattered by a shell. On 
oLir way home we hati both misloiiLines 
and We had to tra\el \er\' 
slowly because of the badly v\cjunded 
men in our charge. The rented horse was 
stolen, lorw liich I had to pay in gold two 
hundred dollars. ( )ur expenses and hire 
of the wagon cost another two hundred 
(.lollars, so 1 w as out myselt toLir hundre(.l 

Federals were in possession ol Spring- 
field when we arri\'ed, so we needed 
jiermission to transport .Abernathy to his 
home in Fbenezer Fulbright was 
allowed to go home, antl .Major Hucker 
stayed at m\' during his reco\er\' 
until an exchange could be arranged. 


The Springfield Town Square sustained heavy damage during the siege of January 
8, 1863. Beverly Barrett recalled, "I dressed many a wound that day, never inquiring 
to which side he belonged. " 

SPRING 1994 

Our trip had lieen c]uiic a scTious and 
dangerous undertaking, luii at the iinic 
we thought little of that. We felt tiial we 
were in the line ofduty and so went right 
along as though peace and good will 
abounde(.l, though indeed it did not. 
Along the way we passed through strag- 
gling soldiers, deserters, and niaratiding 
parlies of e\en' eharacter. 'I'he night he- 
fore our arri\al in Springtield we 
camped on the old battlefield ot Wilson's 
Creek .il the Ik )me of a Mrs. Sh.irp, I'here 
we encoLintered Captain John Kelso of 
the Eighth Cavaliy Missouri State Militia. 
a most disagreeable man who was in 
command of a squad of IVtleral troojis 
who WL're as unprinci|ile(.l as he. Kelso 
and his men raided Mrs. Sharp's house 
and cairied away e\'er\'thing eatable. 
They made threats ol murder to us and 
our wounded men, and they would ha\ e 
carried out their murderous intentions 
had it not been for the apjiearance of a 
gentlemanly Federal colonel who was 
escorting some prisoners from I'ea Ridge 
to Springfield. l-Aerylhing became in- 
stantly quiet, and Kefso and his men left 
in a luiriA'. We had no further trouble. 
This l'e(.leral escort assisted Lrs in e\en' 
possible way, sharing their rations and 
even their blankets. The "honorable" 
Kelso that dark night unscrewed a nut 
off the wheel of our wagon, which was 
disccwered the next morning by one of 
the Federal guards. 

There haw always been some things 
aboLit the I'ea Ridge \ ictoiA- to the Fei,l- 
erals that I could not Lmderstand. The 
report among a number of the Fetleral 
troops was that they were badl\ 
whipped and some had orders for a re- 
treat; in fact, the surgeon whose wound 

we dressed said thai he had been 
woLindetl tUinng the I'etivat I lis batten' 
had been proleeting a body of infantry 
ten miles this side of (he battleground 
•ind was captured by the Southerners. 
Mow true his ston' was I am not sure. Me 
seemed to know all about it and thought 
that the lederals were falling back to- 
ward Springfield. 

I ha\e ne\ er been able to fully under- 
stand, but I think that one or two 
battalions of the Federal lroo|is on the 
north side had been cut off from the 
m.nn army during the hottest of the fight 
and thus ((or their own s.ifety) were 
orLlerei.1 to mo\ e north I'hal mowment 
would ha\e inlerru|iled the progress ol 
Southern armies on the Perhaps the 
retreat of those battalions was a strategic 
mo\enient to sa\e the main army, w hit h 
it cert.iinly did.'' 

Recapture of Springfield 

On January 8, 1863 the battle of 
Springfield took place. It was a busy elay 
f( )r me. I was celebrating my birthday ( )n 
B<)on\ille Street (just north of the 
square), w hen a squad of sokliers raided 
my home and ,ite my birthda\' tlinner. I 
could hear the sounds of picket niLrsket 
fire and then the booming of cannon. 
One cannon ball knocked off our (.him- 
ney, and another hit a tree in the yard to where I was standing. For a few- 
hours fighting was li\ely jnd exeiAone 
was scared. On that memorable day until 
late in the e\ening, our house was full of 
friends. Meanwhile, I was busy taking 
care of the woundetl from both sides. I 
tlresscLl many a wounel that day. ne\er 
inc]uiring to which side he belonged. 
Several arms and legs I amputated also. 


For his assistance in the 
escape of Joe Peevy, a 
Southern sympathizer 
awaiting execution as a 
spy, Barrett was sent to 
the Gratiot Street Prison 
of St. Louis, the former 
H/lcDowell IVIedicai 
College. "In those stirring 
days, " Barrett recalled, 
"there was no man of 
importance or standing 
until he had been locked 
up in Gratiot Street Prison 
for at least a few days. " 

SPRING 1994 

1 iviiicnihcT amiiLilatin,^ tlic arm ol a 
colonel witli no one to assist liLit Mrs. 
Rieliaixison, a vcr)- timid and frail lady. 

My custom at amputation as well as in 
other surgery was to exercise great 
cleanliness. I irrigated the wcnmds with 
a solution of warm water and boric acid. 
With my amputations I enjoyed great 
success, although e\en in surgery we 
blundered along with good results, con- 

Before the battle, Surgeon Melcher 
had gone through the hospitals calling 
for volunteers to defend the town. The 
"hospitals" then consisted of the court- 
house, the Lyon (later Southern) Hotel, 
several private homes, and forty tents. 
About three hundred men responded to 
Melcher's call. Carrying grub in their 
haversacks and quinine, calomel, and 
jalap in their pockets, this "Quinine Bri- 
gade" marched totteringly but bra\ely 
out to the skimiish line." 

At about 3:00 pm.. General Brown, 
commander of the Federal soldiers in 
Springfield, was wounded in the arm. 
Dr. Melcher removed the head and prox- 
imal shaft of the humeais, thus .saving 
the arm from amputation. Hr. Melcher 
was also mounded during the battle. '- 

Confederate Escape 

In the fall of 1863, 1 assisted the widow 
of a rebel soklier in releasing a suspected 
rebel spy from the Springfiekl jail. Joe 
Peevy, a prominent citi/en of Lawrence 
County viho had not taken up arms for 
the South, came to Springfield. He was 
arrested as a rebel spy, tried by an insig- 
nificant court marshal, and found guilty 
on very slight e\idence. He was con- 

xicli'tl to be shot about l\\(i weeks from 
the day of sentence. 

A young cavalry' colonel had com- 
mand of the Springfield |iost ,ii thai lime 
and made his headquarters at the resi- 
dence of Mrs. Theodoshia Smith, a 
Confederate widow connected by mar- 
riage with one of the prominent families 
of Springfield. Because of her husband's 
death, she was a devoted partisan of the 
South. Handsome, genial, and intelli- 
gent, her outspokenness on the 
righteousness of the Southern was 
allowed even by the Colonel. Mrs. Smith 
had been tireless in the effort to sa\e the 
condemned man, but he was resigned to 
writing his last letter to his family. She 
.sought the mercy of her guest, the Colo- 
nel, but he could not aid her. fie had a 
stern duty to perform, to see that Joe 
I'eevy was shot. Mrs. Smith then sought 
my aid. 

The young Colonel was es|-)eciall\' 
fond of a good Southern toddy such as 
the deft hand of Mrs. Smith had again 
and again mixed for him. He usually 
took a nap after drinking two or three 
glasses. He always remtwed his sword, 
gtin, and uniform before retiring for the 
e\ening slumber. Mrs. Smith prepared a 
toddy with specific instructions from 
me — more liquor than \\ ater, and a drug 
that would add to the drovvsy effect of 
the drink The officer drank it d(n\n and 
praised the li(|uor. He soon was soimd 
asleep, his belt and sword aiul uniform 
hanging by the bed. 

Before daybreak it was the duty of the 
Colonel as ofhcer of the da\' to relie\e 
the guard at the jail. Al the hour of relief 
Mrs. Smith donnetl thecolonels uniform 



and belted the sword about her waist. 
She pushed up her hair into the officer's 
hat. So disguised, she accompanied me 
to the jail. Abe Hollingsworth, one of the 
first settlers of Missouri, was the jailer 
and could scarcely see at night. I knew 
he also liked a dram. So I brought a 
bottle of whiskey with me. My part was 
to drink \\ ith the jailer while Mrs. Smith 
impersonated the Colonel. There were 
no streetlamps then, only occasional 
camp fires for illumination. There was 
little danger of .Mrs. Smith's identity 
being di,sco%'ered. 

I accompanied her to the prison with- 
out exciting suspicion. The guards were 
dismissed, and the unsuspecting jailer 
turned o\er the keys to Mrs. Smith. He 
then sat down with me for a friendly 
drink. Mrs. Smith promptly unlocked the 
jail and freed all the rebel prisoners. 

Pee\-s' v,as told to go tt) a certain barn 
where he would find a saddled for 
the tlight. He made good his escape and 
by daylight was many miles from Spring- 
field. The jailer did not discover the 
escape for many hours. The Colonel 
heard the news the next morning when 
he awoke from his long sleep. 

As for myself, I was immediately ar- 
rested and sent to St. Louis undera guard 
of thirty .soldiers. "We went by horse to 
Rolla and thence to St. Louis by train. I 
was put in the Gratiot Street Prison, the 
former .McDowell .Medical College. 1 
thought it ironic that I would be incarcer- 
ated at a former medical school. '■"* 

The school had been founded by an 
eccentric physician. Dr. McDowell, who 
conducted it successfully for a number 
of years. He was a staunch pro-slaver}- 
man and a bitter secessionist, and repoil- 


edly had been storing guns in his base- 
ment. At the outbreak c:)f war he tied the 
city along with his .sons and some stu- 
dents, just ahead of the military 
authorities who quickly confiscated the 
.school and its contents.'' 

■While I was in the pri.son there were 
many daring escapes. In stirring 
days there was no man of importance or 
.standing until he had been locked up in 
Gratiot Street Prison for at least a few 
days. Su.spects would be rounded up 
about town and locked up without 
charges, apology, or explanation. After 
being boarded for one week to two 
months they would be called up before 
the pro\T)st marshal and presented with 
the oath o\' allegiance to the United 
States, which they had to sign without 
question. Often they would choke on 
the words with tears in their eyes.'^ 

Still imprisoned in the final year of the 
war, 1865, I received the sad news that 

Springfield Courthouse, 
which became a United 
States Hospital after the 
Battle of Wilson's Creek 


SPRING 1994 

my dear \\'\\c Susan had passed away. I 
was eveniually leleased as a prisoner ot 
war and paroleel l<> llie cily <>l Si. l.oms. 
Being eontined to tlie cily 1 decided to 
open an office and began a iiicrati\e 
practite; I also niaiiied Mai'}' Priest, and 
we liad a ciiild. In IS^O wc relurneti lo 
my home in Springfield. 

Beverly Barrett died at Spring- 
field on June 1, 1899. 


1. Hiographical intorniali<in on the liii- 
rett family is from the personal pa|')ers of l)r, 
Beverly Barrett, Barrett Family, Springfieki, 
Mo. (hereafter cited as Barrett Collection). 

2. R. I. Holcombe, ed.. History of Ciivciic 
Coini/y. Missouri iS{ l.oLiis: Western Histori- 
cal Co.. 1883), 3a8-a';. 

3. Barrett Collection, 
a. Ibid 

S. I lilted Sl.ues SLirgeon-CieiH-T,il s ( )l- 
fice. '/he Mcdtail mid Siiri>ic(il Histoiy of the 
War of iIk> Rebellion. 12 vols. ( 1,S~()-1K8S; rpt. 
Wilmington, N.C.: Hroatlfoot Pnblishing Co., 
1990-l')<)2). 2:n-lS, 

(1, Ibid. 

7. Holcombe. ed,, Ilislory of (ireeiie 
Comity. 3(i8-(i9. 

8. Ibid 

') Hanetl Colleclion. 

10, Ibid, 

11. Holcombe, eel,. History of Greene 
County, 433. 

12. I'nited States Surgeon-General's Of- 
fice, Medical and Siiri^ical I listiny of the War 
of the Rebellion. I():s22 

13 Barrett Colleeliop, Peev \ and liaiiell 
iiiLisl ha\e slaved in toLich, tor B.iriell indi- 
ealetl in 189^ that the former spy was a 
well-known citizen of Cassville. county seat 
of Berry County," 

H. Galiisha .Anderson, '//)(■ Sloiy uf a lior- 
der City iliirini!. the Ciril ll((r( Boston: Little, 
Brown, .ind Conipan\, I9()S), 188-89. 

Is, B.iirett Collection. 

Thomas P. Sweeney, M.D., is a 
radiologist at St. John s Regional 
Health Center, Springfield, Missouri. 
He received the A.B. degree from 
Washington University and the M.D. 
degree from the University of 
Missouri-Columbia. Since 1969 he has 
been associated with Springfield 
Radiology Group. He serves on the 
boards of the Wilson s Creek National 
Battlefield Foundation and the National 
Museum of Civil War Medicine. He is a 
member of the Civil War Round Table 
of The Ozarks, Friends of Gettysburg 
National Battlefield, and Ozarks Watch. 
He has given numerous oral history 
presentations as Drs. Caleb Winfrey 
and Beverly Barrett. With his wife he 
operates General Sweeny's Museum, 
devoted to the Trans-Mississippi and 
located near the entrance to Wilson s 
Creek National Battlefield Park. 


The Physician's Pocket Companion is from the collection of the Grand Army of the 
Republic Memorial Museum. It was originally in the possession of L. D. Kellog of 
the Seventeenth Illinois Infantry. 

The book in the background, from Special Collections of Southern Illinois 
University School of Medicine Library, is Hand-book for the Military Surgeon by 
Charles S. Tripler and George C. Blackman. The medical instruments are from a 
trephine kit in the Pearson Museum. 

The Grand Army of the Republic 
Memorial Museum 

The "Physician's Pocket Compan- 
ion" pictured on the cover of tiiis 
issue is from the unique collection < )f a 
museum built in the 1960s to memorial- 
ize veterans of the Union Army. The 
Grand Army of the Republic Memorial 
Museum, maintained by the National 
Woman's Relief Corps, preserves mili- 
tary and ceremonial artifacts from the 
Civil War era as well as reminiscences 
and regalia from the veterims' yearly re- 

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson 

Benjamin Franklin Stephenson, 
founder of the Grand Army of the Re- 
public (GAR), %\as bt)rn on Octolier ^. 
1823, in Wayne County, Illinois.' He was 
the .son of lames and .Margaret, and the 
sewnlh of ele\en children. ,Sicphenson 
crediteel his father \\ith encouraging a 
love of knowledge and fairness, and his 
mother with a kindness of heart and 
determination. All of their children re- 
ceived what education was available to 
Illinc:)is settlers, and Prank, as he was 
called, excelled in spelling and debate. 

His oldest brother William left home 
to study medicine and eventually oper- 
ated a drugstore in Iowa, where Frank 
joined him in 1846. The brothers shared 

their interest in medicine; William tu- 
tored while Frank clerked in the From 18-49 to 18S() Frank Ste- 
phenson attended Rush .Metlical 
College in Chicago, receiving his di- 
ploma on February 7, 18S(), lit.- ihi'n 
returned south to the famiK' home in 
Petersburg. Five years later he married 
Barbara B. Moore, a native of Kentucky 
then living in nearby Springfield. The 
couple had several children, one of 
whom eventually wrote f)r Stej>hciis(iii: 
Founder of the GAR. 

In July of 1861, soon after I he out- 
break of the Civil War, Stephenson 
enlisted in the Union Army and was ap- 
pointed surgeon of the Fourteenth 
Illinois I nfantr\- Volunteers. Accordingto 
regimental reminiscences, he cared un- 
failingly for members of the Fourleenlh 
or any other stricken .soldier who came 
to his attention. He was imable to put 
family concerns out of his mind, how- 
ever, and in 1862 he left the troops in 
order to return to his ailing w ife, .As Col. 
William Camm noted in his diaiv entn- 
of Augu,st31, 1862: 

I met Ste\enson fsicj at the Provost 
Marshals office, the day he left to .see his 
sick wife who was thought to he near 

by Jean Lightowler Kirchner 


death. . . . [Tlhe Division Sergeant gave 
me a verbal order to give Stevenson, and 
when I told him that my surgeon had that 
da\' started for Illinois, the doctor with a 
good deal ot profanity' told me that Dr. S. 
had no leave and that he would have him 
dismi.s.sed for absence without lea\e. . . . 
[Slince then I ha\e done what I could . . . 
to .save Stevenson. But it .seems he is in 
righ dudgeon about it, though has not and 
probabK' will not sav anything to me. Had 
I know n that he was going without lea\e 
I should never have let the cat out at 
division headquarters, for I do not blame 
him under such circumstances. - 

Stephen.son was miKstereci out of ser- 
vice on June 2-4 and returned home to 
Springfield, where he applied for and 
received a contract to provide medical 
ser\'ices to soldiers still remaining at 
Camp Butler, which had sei"\ed as a mus- 
tering point, hospital, and prisoner of 
war camp during the \\ar years. 

Founding of the Grand Army 
of the Republic 

.\s a physician, Stephenson had great 
concern for the fate of his fellow veter- 
ans. He spent time dLU"ing his service 
considering the problem and discussing 
possible solutions with his compatriots. 
Likewise, he was troubled by the diffi- 
culties of the war's widows and orphans, 
left alone after their family members had 
ser\'ed so courageously. 

In January, 1866, Stephenson devel- 
oped the idea of a "National Soldiers' 
Mutual Benefit Society, whose motto 
should be Loyalty, Fraternity, and Char- 
ity, and whose glorious name should be 
the Grand Army of the Republic." It was 
to be a secret .society, in the manner of 

many others that followed the war. He 
constRicted a document laying out the 
ritual, rules, and regulations for the orga- 
nization, edited only slightly by Colonel 
Daniel Grass who was in active service 
at the time, stationed in Springfield. The 
plan was submitted to Illinois Governor 
Richard Oglesby (himself a veteran), 
who thought it was a good idea but was 
doubtful that it wtuild succeed. "^ 

On April 6, 1S66, the fouith anniver- 
sary of the Battle of Shiloh (at which 
Stephenson and nearly all of the charter 
members had been present), the first 
GAR encampment was established with 
Post No. 1 of Decatur, District of Macon, 
Department of Illinois. The .second post 
followed in Springfield and was named 
Stephenson Post No. 2. By year's end, 
forty posts were organized in Illinois and 
nearby states, and a national convention 
was held. By the time of the 1868 con- 
vention held in Philadelphia, there were 
permanently organized po.sts in fifteen 
states with provisional organizations in 
all the remaining states and territories. 
Stephenson's dream of a national frater- 
nity' of veterans had Ix-come a reality. 

Stephenson's preoccupation with the 
GAR left him little time or energy to tend 
to his practice; and being more sympa- 
thetic to the needs of others than to his 
own fortunes, he soon had little left. 
After years of piecing together the 
dreams of veterans he became discour- 
aged by his own. Eventually he moved 
his family from Springfield to the old 
family home in Menard County, and 
died at Rock Creek, Illinois on August 30, 
1871, at the age of foity-seven. 

The last surviving member of the 
Grand Army of the Republic, Albert 




|J^ ^ 






SPRING 1994 

Woolson, died at the age of 109 in 19S6. 
Because membersliip in the GAR had 
iieen restricted to actual I 'ni( )n veterans, 
iiis death olTiciaih- ended liie society. 


The National Woman's Relief Corps 

Allhoiigli the Grand Army of tiie Re- 
piililie ceased to exist witii the death of 
its lasl nieiiiber. its mission was earned 
on by an atixiiian' group, the National 
Woman's Relief Corps. ' Organized at the 
request of the GAR in 1S(S3 in Den\ er, 
Colorado, and incorporated in 1962, the 
Corps was open to all interested patriots. 
Its members worked faithfulK' to en- 
courage citizenship through xoler 
education, distribution of literature .ind 
patriotic materials, and support of the 
symbols of the I'nited .States and its \et- 
erans. To carry on its edticational 
services, the Corps established a perma- 
nent National Headquarters and erected 
the GAR Memorial .Museum in Spring- 
tiekl, Illinois. The museum maintains a 
collection of records, donations from 
\eterans, and programs of GAR and Re- 
lief Corps reunions. 

The Grantl .Army of the Rejiublic Me- 
morial .Mirseuni is located at 629 .South 
ScNcnth Street, Springfield, IL 62"'03. 
The museum is open to \'isitors from 
1():(1() A.M. to 4;00 P.M., Tuesday through 
Saturday. Additional information is 
available from Bunny Wiggins, who 
oversees the care of the collection, ai 

1. Hiogr.iphical inForiiiation t .m be 
loLind in Mar\' Harriet Stephenson. Dr Sic- 
l>hciisoii. Finmder of !he CAR .^ Mcitiuir 
(Springfield: H, W. Rokker Fnnling IIoLise, 
1.S94); Robert B. Beath, Uistoiy (ifthc C'niiul 
Army (if the RepiihliciKew '^'ork: Tay- 
lor iS: Co. Publishers, 1<S,S9); Grantl Mmy of 
tile Republic. l'iiieiliii}> Ci'rciiKoiu's. Mciiin- 
hal to Dr. Benfamiii Franklin Slephi'itsoii. 
Founder of the Grand Arm]' of the Rcpiihlic. 
Washington. July ,x I ')()') i W.ishin.yton. 
DC; n p.. 1909). 

2. Fruz Haskell, ed.. Col, W illi.mi 
Canini: Dlan,'. 1861-186S. /o//;)/^// (/ //le 
Illinois State Historical Society 1<S (192(3); 

3. Stephenson, Dr. Stephenson. -i2. 

4. '■.■\cti\ities and Services ol jliiel Na- 
tional Woman's Relief Corps. Aiixiliarv' to the 
Grand .-^rmy of the Republic. Inc.." brochure 
from the GAR .Memorial .Museum antl the 
N.itK )nLil 1 ieadquarters. 

Jean Lightowler Kirchner is the 
Editorial Researcher for this journal 
and the Department of fi/ledical 
Humanities of Southern Illinois 
University School of Medicine in 
Springfield. She received the 
bachelor's degree in English and art 
from Hope College in 1977. 




Medical History On-line 

CADUCEUS-L is a moderated elec- 
tronic bulletin board providing a forum 
for exchanging information on any as- 
pect of the history of the health sciences. 
It includes announcements, inquiries, 
and discussion on access to historical 

Founded in May 1992, the service is 
supported by the Moody Medical Library 
and the Office of Academic Computing 
at the University of Texas Medical 
Branch at Galveston. Moderator is Inci 
A. Bowman, Ph.D., who is well known 
to members of the American Association 
for the History of Medicine as the curator 
of the Blocker History of Medicine Col- 
lections, Moody Medical Library. 
CADUCEUS-L currently has nearly three 
hundred subscribers (librarians, histori- 
ans, health sciences faculty, and 
collectors) from the United States and 
more than a dozen other countries. 
Membership is open to anyone inter- 
ested in the history of the biomedical 
sciences and health care. 

New subscribers should send e-mail 
to: Mailserv@Beach.UTMB.Edu and 
message line. Announcements, inquir- 
ies, and responses should be sent to 

Inci Bowman can be reached at 
IBOWMAN@Beach.UTMB.Edu or by 

"snail mail" at Moody Medical Library, 
Ninth and Market Streets, Galveston, TX 

Society for Health and Human Values 

The Student Interest Group of the So- 
ciety for Health and Human Values 
(SHHV) is compiling a reference guide 
and handbook focusing on publishing 
opportunities in bioethics and related 
fields. The guide will be directed at grad- 
uate and professional students 
interested in publishing in the fields of 
medical humanities, the history of med- 
icine, and the philosophy of medicine. 
The group is interested in reviewing rel- 
evant scholarly or informal resource 
materials that would be of use in compil- 
ing the guide, including classroom 
materials. Materials and questions 
should be forwarded to Rachel Ankeny 
Majeske, SHHV-Student Interest Group 
Chair, 5329 Stanton Avenue, Pittsburgh, 
PA 15206. 

Centennial of the Cleveland Medical 
Library Association 

This fall marks the one hundredth 
year of service for the Cleveland Medical 
Library Association. The centennial will 
be commemorated with a variety of ac- 
tivities aimed at promoting, in particular, 
the Historical Division. The first volume 
owned by the Library Association was a 


SPRING 1994 

rare puhlii-alion on anatomy troiii the 
sixteenth centiiiy. Tlie scope of tlie col- 
lection grew as it acc|uirecl artifacts 
representing the hist(>r\' of nieciicai jirai-- 
tice on liie Western Reser\e resiiiting in 
an early establishment of a nuiseiim of 
medical history soon after the beginning 
of the twentieth century. Since then, the 
Historical Division has become one of 
the most esteemed historical meclieal 
collections in the countr\-. 

The Library's fall programs \\ ill high- 
light the collections, commemorating 
the Association's hi.ston' and examining 
both the |iast and iLiture of medicine. 
One such e\ent will be a special exhibit 
entitled "The Building of a Great Library' 
Collection," which opens early in No- 
vember in the Dittrick Museum. It will 
feature such acquisitions as the Marshall 
collection of herbs, the Cole collection 
of venereals, the Weber collection of sur- 
gical instruments (see Cailiuciis. 
Autumn 1993, pp. «7-9,S), and the 
Stecher collection on Darwin and I'reud. 
Further information can be obtained 
from: The Cleveland Medical Library-. 
11000 F.uclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 

Call for Abstracts 

Submissions from scholars are re- 
quested for the upcoming conference 
"Organ and Tfssue Donation; Perspec- 
tives from the Humanities." Sponsored 
by the Department of Medical Humani- 
ties, Southern Illinois rni\ersir\' School 
of Medicine, the conference will be held 
in Chicago, Jime 9-10, 199S. Tliis e\ent 

is sii|Tporte(.l through a grant from the 
Li\e lS: Learn Organ Donation Project 
through the Office of the Illinois Secre- 
taiT of State. 

Abstracts are to be a maximum of five 
hundred words. Papers dealing with the 
following issues will be particularly wel- 
come: non-heart-beating cadaver 
donors, directed donation, living non- 
related donors, prestimed consent, and 
market incentives. 

The deadline for submission is De- 
cember I, 1994. Pailicipants will be 
notified by Febaian,- I, lOOS. Selected 
conference papers will be published. To 
for\\ard submissions or to request pro- 
gram information, write Bethany I. 
Spielman. Ph.D.. |.D., Depailmeni of 
Medical Humanities-1 1 13, Southern 
Illinois Uni\'ersity School of Medicine, 
P.O. i5ox 19230, Springfield, IL 62794- 
9230 or call (217) 782-4261. Internet: 

Readers are invited to fonvard an- 
nouncements of programs, publications, 
and exhibits for publication to Oulit- 
ceus: A Humanities Jour)icil far 
Medicine and the Health Sciences. De- 
partment of Medical Humanities-1 1 13, 
Southern Illinois I'nixersity School of 
Medicine, i^O. Box 19230, Springheld, IL 



Picture Credits 

Pages 2, 7: The National Museum of Civil War 
Medicine, Frederick, Md., courtesy of the 

Pages 4-S: The E\ angelical Lutheran Church, 
Frederick, Md,, courte,sy of the autlior. 

Pages 8-9, 30: (Courtesy of the Illinois .State 
Historical Library, a division of the Illinois 
HLstoric Preservation Agency, Springheld, 

Page fO: Ikiipers Weekly. Oct. 11, 1.S02, p. 

Pages 11, 13, 19, 24, 28, 44: Deering j. Rob- 
erts, "Field and Temporary Hospitals," in 
Prisons and Hospitals, vol. 7 of The Photo- 
graphic Histoiy oj the Civil War. ed. Francis 
Trevelyan Miller (New York: Review of Re- 
views Co., 191 1 ), 217, 263, 263, 218, 30-i, 64. 

Pages l=i, 1(1, 20, 26, 38, 40: Frank Leslie s Tlye 
American .Soldier in the Civil War (New 
^"ork: Bryan, Taylor, & Co., 1895), 362, I64, 
173, 127,467-68,69. 

Pages 29, 32: Courtesy of The Pearson Mu- 
.seuni. Department of Medical Humanities, 
Southern Illinois University School of Medi- 
cine, Springfield. 

Page 31:. I K Barnes, We Medical ami Sur- 
gical Histoiy of the War of the Rebellion . . . 
Part III (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1883), 
2:956, courtesy of (California State University 
at Long Beach. 

Pages 35, 42: //aipers Weekly. Nov. 30, 1861, 
p. 759. 

Pages 37, 39, 46: Courtesy of General 
Sweeny's, A Mu.seum of Civil War Hfstory, 
Republic, Mo., and the author. 

Page 48: James 1 lawker. Division of Biomed- 
ical Commimications, Southern Illinois L-ni- 
\ersity School of Medicine, Springfield, with 
permissions of the Grand Army of the Repub- 
lic Memorial Museum and Special Collec- 
tions, Southern Illinois University School of 
Medicine Library. 

Page 50: Robert B. Beath, Histoiy of the 
Grand Army of the Republic (New York: 
Bryan, Taylor & Co., 1889), opp. 32. 

Cover illustration: The Physician's Pocket 
Companion, a leather ca,se that would have 
held medicinal vials, is from the collection of 
the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial 
Museum, Springfield, through the permis- 
sion of the Women's Relief Corps, The two 
medical instruments ,ue a scalpel and tre- 
phine, from a vvood-ca.sed trephine kit from 
the Pearson Museum, Department of Medi- 
cal lUimanities, Southern Illinois L'nixersity 
School of Medicine, Springfield. The in.stru- 
ments, which would have been used to re- 
mo\e a circular disk of bone ( chiefly from the 
skull), were originally used by Dr. Josiah 
Whitnel of Old Reynoldsburg, Illinois, and 
were donated to the Pearson Museiim by Dr. 
N. G. Mozley. The book is the 1862 edition 
of ne Hand-Book for the Militaiy Surgeon 
by Charles S. Tripler, M,D., and George C. 
Blackman, M.D., from Special Collections of 
Southern Illinois University School of Medi- 
cine Library, Photograph by James Hawker, 
Coordinator of Photography, Division of 
Biomedical Communications, Southern 
Illinois University School of Medicine. 

Caduceusif. produced 
for the Department of 
Medical Humanities by 
the Division of Biomedi- 
cal Communications, 
Graphic Design and 
Medical Illustration, 
Southern Illinois Univer- 
sity School of Medicine. 
Bernardine Hatcher, 

Linda Clark Ragel 
Patricia A. Baker 



CiiihiceiiS: A HiimiDiities JuiiDuit for MecticDie unci the Hccillh Sciences is a 
pct*i-re\ievved scholarly journal piihli.shcd by the Department of Medical Hu- 
manities of Southern Illinois I'nisersity School of Medicine. Altln )u,t;h the Ixliti >r 
reser\es the right to scilicit papers for certain thematic issues, authors are 
encoLiraged to send unsolicited manuscripts for rc\ iew . 

The Editor will consider manuscripts not greater than thirty pages on subjects 
of interest to a niultidisciplinar\ audience. MauLiscripts shoukl be dotible- 
spaced on 8 1 2" b\' 1 1" paper, with margins justifRxl on the left only, footnote 
.style should follow the Thirteenth lidition of Ihe (.'hicdgo Muiiiial of Style. 
piiblished by the L'niversity of Chicago Press Illustrations (glossy prints are 
preferred) are welcomed and will be printed \\ ithotit charge to the author. All 
illustrations should be accompanied \\ ith proper permissions anti full citation. 

(xiiliiceiisxs cop\riglited in order to protect authors against unaulhori/etl use 
of contents. All authors will be asked to assign copyright to the Board of 
Trustees of Southern Illinois Uni\ersity at the time the manuscript is accepted 
for publication. Editorial offices are located at 913 North Rutledge; telephone 

M.imiscripts ami other editorial communications should be addressed to; 

John S. Haller, |r,, Hilitor 


Department of Medical Humanities - 1 1 13 

Soutliern Illinois t nix ersit\' School of .Medicine 

Box 19230 

Springfield, IL (i2~94-9230 

Forthcoming in 

"Students and Teaching in the Clinical Era, 1770-1860" 

nomas Neville Bo)mer. Guest Editor 

Thomas Nerille Boiuier. Introductory Essay, Li)ida Lehman Goldstein. 
"Women Medical Students in a Male Medical College: The Cleveland Story"; 
Axel Karenberg, "Students at the Bedside in German Universities"; Lisa 
Rosner. "Student Culture at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century: Edinburgh 
and Philadelphia." 

Forthcoming Issues — 

Howard S. Bairows, Guest Editor, "Medical Education for the Future" 

Phillip V. Davis. Guest Editor. "Organ Donation and Public Policy" 

M Patricia Donahue. Guest Editor. "Nursing in Wartime" 

/. Worth Estes. Guest Editor. "Therapeutics through the Ages" 

Pascal James Imperato. Guest Editor. "History of Medical Health Care Reform" 

Florence Kavaler. Guest Editor. "History of the United States Public Health 

William G. Rothstein. Guest Editor. "When Did a Random Patient Benefit from 
a Random Physician?" 

The Editor also welcomes unsolicited nuuiuscripts. Information on style is 
given 0)1 the inside hack cover of this issue.